Help with sweet potato harvest
Central New Hampshire
It's my first year growing sweet potatoes. What gorgeous vines! They've been the best-looking plants in my garden this summer (after a slow start; I didn't think any of those scrawny slips would grow), untouched by insect pests, disease, or the drowning that knocked out much of my early crops.
Because it's getting cold, and I understand the tubers could be harmed by soil temperatures below 45°, I've started harvesting them.
Yikes! The tubers are so brittle. The biggest ones grow bunched tightly together directly under where the vines attach to the roots. They snap or break off a couple of inches from the end, even when I work them gently and individually out of the soil by hand. I don't dare use a digging fork or even a trowel. How can I harvest he tubers so they remain intact?
Also, can I cure and eat those long, skinny ones that look something like skinny (or fat) carrots? I have a lot of those. I assume they'd grow into nice big sweet potatoes if we had another six weeks of hot weather. I'll try to get some photos tomorrow.