Tips for Harvesting and Storing Sweet Potatoes
When to Harvest Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potatoes may be dug in early fall as soon as the tubers reach a good size. But don't hurry. The longer Sweet Potatoes stay in the ground, the larger and sweeter they get. It's best to wait until the leaves start to yellow or frosty weather is approaching. (Should the vines get frosted, it's important to harvest immediately.)
Harvest Sweet Potatoes from right at the base of the plant, just barely under the ground. If the soil is relatively loose, you can simply brush it away to reveal the tubers. If your soil is heavier, use a garden fork to dig down and loosen the soil, then lift the tubers up out of the ground.
When a Sweet Potato first comes out of the ground, its skin is very thin and it can be easily nicked or bruised. Handle the tubers as gently as eggs, transferring them carefully to a bin that's been lined with burlap or an old blanket. Move the potatoes out of the sun into a warm, dry location and lay them out in a single layer, so the skins can dry for a week or so.