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S.D. gardener grows 11-pound sweet potato 

Posted: Wednesday, Oct 10th, 2012

In this photo taken Sept. 26 in Madison, Dwaine Doremus holds an 11-pound, 7.4-ounce sweet potato that he recently harvested from his wife’s garden in Wentworth. The largest sweet potato they previously harvested was 6 pounds. Doremus has been searching for any record of the largest sweet potato grown in South Dakota and has yet to find any record. AP PHOTO BU ELISA SAND/MADISON DAILY LEADER

MADISON (AP) — Janice Doremus makes a point of growing something new in her garden each year.

Doremus grows a variety of vegetables and flowers each year. This year, her husband Dwaine harvested a sweet potato that tipped the post office scales at 11 pounds, 7.4 ounces. Doremus said that potato was definitely one of the bigger sweet potatoes they have grown. They pulled a 6-pound sweet potato from the ground two or three years ago.

“Sweet potatoes are kind of a tropical plant,” she said. “They like the heat.”

Doremus said that she plants the sweet potatoes in a mound that extends the length of the row.

“I had close to 22 plants this year,” she said. “They’re a beautiful plant.”

Doremus said sweet potatoes vine out throughout the summer, and she has to occasionally pull up the vines so they don’t root into the ground.

“This year I was real faithful with the runners,” she said.

This year, her total sweet potato harvest was 246 pounds.

“Sweet potatoes like a long growing season,” she said. “As soon as it freezes, you need the top cut and then dig them up right away.”

With her abundant crop, Doremus said, she’s looking forward to trying some new recipes that have sweet potato as an ingredient. She may even try canning some, but she dreads the processing time, which is 90 minutes in a pressure cooker.

Doremus said this year she’s been blessed with an abundance in several parts of her garden, including raspberries and peanuts.

“I try to grow one new thing in my garden that I haven’t planted before,” she said. “This year I planted peanuts.”

Doremus said she found a package of peanut seeds at Domestic Seed in Madison and grew seven plants. She started digging under one of the bushes last week.

“I think it’s the biggest peanuts I’ve seen,” she said.

The daughter of a gardener and a farmer, Doremus said that it takes her about seven years to get a good garden spot established, and she’s worked on this garden for the past nine years.

“I love to see things grow, so I just plant,” she said.

For the complete article see the 10-09-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 10-09-2012 paper.

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