Sunday, April 14, 2013

Growing Sweet Potatoes in Melbourne

It's been a long, hot summer and there's lots to tell about my garden and how lots of different plants survived and thrived or otherwise. Let's start with Sweet Potatoes. The truth is that I picked up two small seedlings at Bunnings and planted them around October, almost as an afterthought. Here is the harvest from one of those plants, gently dug up over the weekend on April 13...I was rapt to say the least, especially considering that I had already bandicooted one large tuber in January.  I had already taken a lot of comfort from the following blog - - where a local grower had proved you could grow sweet potatoes in Melbourne. But still!

I have friends from the tropics who regard sweet potatoes as so easy to grow they're almost boring, but I'm still in the first flush of total joy that the harvest was so good. It's always like that when a food plant is regarded as marginal for your city or region and then, exceptionally hot summer aside, you show that it works as a fantastic crop.

And of course what's so great about sweet potatoes is that they're perennial plants, easy to strike from cuttings or via layering (which the species does itself naturally) and the young shoots are edible - I've been cooking with all summer. It's time to make sweet potatoes "mainstream" in Melbourne and perhaps, one day, boring...