Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Agriculture

October 11, 2010

Goodman grows huge sweet potatoes

GLASGOW — Billy G. Goodman has no idea why his sweet potatoes grew so big.

The Bon Ayr gardener says he didn’t do anything special to get them to grow large. The only thing he did was to talk to them.

“I walked out there every morning and told them I loved them,” he said, with a grin.

His wife, Hazel, finds that comment amusing.

“She thinks it’s funny,” he said.

Goodman grew the sweet potatoes in his garden, along with tomatoes, peppers and onions.

“This is the first time he ever raised sweet potatoes,” said his wife, Hazel Goodman, adding the only thing her husband did to them was give them lots of tender loving care.

She said she can only guess what type of reaction he had when he dug the sweet potatoes and saw how large they were.

“I imagine he about fell down,” she said, with a laugh.

Kristin Goodin, horticulture agent for Barren County, said sweet potatoes are grown from sweet potato slips.

“You usually plant those slips in May, usually around Derby Day, is the day you plant them,” she said.

Goodin always tells gardeners to take their site selection into consideration when planting vegetables. An area that receives lots of sunlight, at least six to eight hours, is a good location.

“You don’t want to choose a location that’s got frost pockets,” she said. “You want to make sure it has good sunlight so you have good production levels.”

She also recommends gardeners do a soil test to see if the pH level is appropriate, and said a pH level of 6.2 or 6.8 is suitable.

Goodin pointed out that certain varieties grow better in specific areas.

“We are in Zone Six so you want to pick a variety that grows well in our zone,” she said.

Aside from doing those things, she recommends making sure sweet potato plants are well watered and that they are monitored closely for disease.

She cautioned not to consistently plant a garden in the same area.

“If you keep growing them in the same plot, it’s going to be prone to disease,” Goodin said.

The couple has found a new recipe they can’t wait to try with their super large sweet potatoes.

The recipe calls for peeling the sweet potatoes; boiling them until tender; slicing them in half and place marshmallows inside; rolling them in cornflakes; and baking them.

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