With Frost in the nighttime air, it appears my grand sweet potato experiment is about complete. I felt it was time to dig a few of the sprawling plants to see what the summer has brought in the way of sweet potatoes. In past seasons the little ground squirrels have been going to the main stem of the plants and have been digging into the tubers beneath. Last season they destroyed and ate most of my sweet potatoes.
This spring I planted my sweet potato plants and then dug a large upturned pot with its bottom removed, into the raised bed to keep the little marauders from reaching the main stem of the plants. The little gophers have not reached the tubers and the crop seems to be intact. With the cooler than normal summer, sweet potatoes seem a bit smaller than other summers but at least we will have some of the delicious and nutritious tubers to eat. I suspect that the pots may have helped warm the soil a bit as well as keeping the ‘striped gophers’ out. The lack of sweet potatoes in their diet has not seemed to curtail the ground squirrel population. They are in no danger of extinction on our place!