Friday, August 27, 2010
Did you know...
That sweet potatoes are one of the best and easiest vegetables you can grow? It only takes some time and dedication. Then you have one of the best self sustaining crops in the world. Sweet potatoes can reproduce themselves with little or no trouble after a long period of time. And, in the proper conditions, sweet potatoes store amazingly well. Believe it or not, I had one sitting on the counter for several months before I got around to doing anything with it. When I cut it open after getting all the slips I wanted, it still looked just fine.
Sweet potatoes are also great sources of vitamin C, beta carotene, and vitamin A. Here's the breakdown for one medium sweet potato:
Calories from fat: 0.39 g
Protein: 2.15 g
Carbohydrate: 31.56 g
Dietary Fiber: 3.9 g
Sodium: 16.9 mg
Potassium: 265.2 mg
Calcium: 28.6 mg
Folate: 18.2 mcg
Vitamin C: 29.51 mg
Vitamin A: 26081.9 IU
Source: National Agricultural Library (NAL), part of the Agricultural Research Service of the US Department of Agriculture.
Looks like a pretty good deal, right? Add yourself some beans or high protein grain and you have a nutritionally complete meal straight out of the garden.
For 1 square foot of gardening space (in my case, a 5 gallon bucket), I should get 2-3 lbs of food, based on the checking I did yesterday. Pretty good, right? It gets better.
For the cost of 1 sweet potato ($0.89) at the grocery store, I got seven plants. I could have had more, but ran out of space. I had potting soil and hay on-hand. The buckets were a gift from a friend, but can easily be obtained for free from restaurants.
When you do the math, for $0.89, some time, energy, and water, I will be getting approximately 14 lbs of food and have assured myself of as many slips of sweet potatoes as I need for as long as I can keep a potato or two hanging around.
Plus, sweet potatoes are easy to prepare (boil 'em, microwave them, bake them, etc.) and delicious to eat. With news reports of tainted foods and food prices going sky high, can you afford not to grow them?
For instructions on how to propagate sweet potatoes, check out this post: http://jessaminegardens.blogspot.com/2010/05/work-and-garden.html