Yesterday morning we filled the area near our home with a six-year-old boy’s squeals of delight as he launched model rockets into the Sunday morning air.

Sorry, neighbors. Here’s hoping you rise early.

But that’s not what this post is about.

This post is about the time we spent after we came home, digging our sweet potatoes out of the garden.

I didn’t plant a big patch of sweet potatoes. I only planted the bare patch you see here:

Post harvest

And a close-up:


All summer I watched those vines spiral out of control without any clue as to what was going on beneath them. Would we have any potatoes? Would there be but a few scrawny excuses for tubers?

In the last few weeks the deer had found the vines, they had started to yellow, and finally the night before last we had a light frost.

It was time to dig.

I had every intention of digging those sweet potatoes myself, but Greg can’t stand to see me using a shovel. I think he would like to pretend it’s because he’s so chivalrous, but the more likely reason for his labor is that I’m so clumsy with a shovel he can’t bear to watch me more than five minutes without stepping in to do it the ‘right’ way.

As it turns out, It’s a bully good thing (for me) that he did. He dug the potatoes, I hoisted them from the soil and put them in Ethan’s toy dump truck, and the kids were forced under threat of banishment to line them all up along the wall. There are still a sad few there that haven’t fit into the crates:


Ethan and I counted up the spuds. All 85 of them. Eighty-five! From that little patch of soil. Several of them put this one to shame. I don’t know how many pounds were harvested  – we were too sick of it by the time we were done to weigh them  – but they’re sitting contentedly in crates in the bunker, covered with wet towels, curing.

curing tower

You may be wondering what the hell I plan to do with 85 sweet potatoes.

Beats the hell out of me, but after a very disappointing year where tomatoes and green beans were concerned, this was a nice surprise.

And also one more testament to raised garden beds.