The eccentric sweet potato demands that it be treated differently than any other garden vegetable. But if you are willing to be accommodating, sweet potatoes are not difficult to grow. After harvest, if you do right by them, they maintain superb quality in storage for eight months to a year. And despite their tropical origin, sweet potatoes can be grown just about anywhere that one can ripen tomatoes. This book tells you what you need to know to grow a year's supply of the sweetest, tastiest and most nutritious root crop.
Some vegetables taste the same whether you buy them or grow your own (I am unable to tell the difference between cauliflower from the supermarket and from my own garden). There are many vegetables, however, that are clearly superior when grown in the home garden. The reasons for this tend to be specific to the vegetable: tomato varieties which are best for flavour are not grown commercially; cantaloupes have to be vine ripened for melting fruity flavour; harvest timing is critical for peas; minumum time from the garden to the table is very important for corn and for new potatoes; sweet potatoes are mistreated by the retail system.
Home gardeners who grow their own sweet potatoes have it within their power to do right everything that the professionals are currently doing wrong. The difference this makes in quality and flavour is amazing.
I still have stock of the Sweet Potato Book (probably enough to last until 2016) . When I self-published this book in 1998 the USA dollar was worth more and shipping to USA was cheaper than now so I was able to sell to both Canada and USA for $20 inclusive. The total price is still $20 within Canada but I am now asking for $25 (book + shipping etc) to ship to USA. and $30 if it has to cross an ocean. Either Can$ or USA$ okay. Cheque or money order.
Thanks for the book, it's a brilliant effort.
Brian Smith, Horticultural Researcher, England
The New Zealand references look good and
the book seems appropriately pitched for the audience – well done!
Steve Lewthwaite, Sweet Potato Researcher, New Zealand
Your book on sweet potatoes
is a delight. I hope it gets many more people involved.
Eliot Coleman, Four Season Farm, Maine
Outstanding job on the book.
Greg Wingate, Mapple Farm, New Brunswick
John Hillbrand, Arkansas
One could view this book as the sweet potato book "for
the rest of us" — meaning
backyard and small growers, as opposed to large commercial growers
and academic scientists...There are chapters on sweet potato history, hardiness,
propagation, siting, planting, pests, cultivars, harvesting and post-harvest
care, breeding and recipes. There is also an inspiring chapter on George Washington Carver, whom
Ken calls the "patron saint of sweet potatoes." And there
are long lists of references from the scientific literature.
The bottom line is that anyone trying to grow sweet potatoes above the Mason-Dixon Line needs this book, and any small-scale sweet potato grower in the South will find much useful information and entertainment in the book.
HortIdeas, March 1998, 15(3)
Sweet Potatoes is interesting and informative,
personal and in some part humorous, and it is well structured and easy to
Unlike many gardening books, Ken Allan's not only tells you how to grow the crop but tells you why to grow it that way.
This is what I've been needing for the past few years that I've been growing sweet potatoes. Now I know why my yields have been so low. Now I know why the sweet potatoes don't always keep. Now I know why I have to keep begging Garrett Pittenger for slips every year.
I encourage anyone who is (or wants to be) growing sweet potatoes to read and heed this book.
Seeds of Diversity Magazine, May 1998, 11(2)
Ken Allan's book is a 'must read' if you're at all interested
in growing sweet potatoes.
Review by Art Drysdale for ICanGarden.com Mar 17, 2002
is a practical book with many helpful suggestions and lot of anecdotes. It
is not a book aimed at researchers but