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Primitive Technology: Planting a Sweet Potato Patch

Growing food is an important skill to have in an extended survival or long term off the grid situation. That’s what this man did with a sweet potato patch.

Our friend of the earthen hut and Primitive Technology fame has decided to expand his in-the-bush/off grid living project by planting and growing a sweet potato patch. After all, a man needs some calories and starch to have the energy to do all of those primitive skills projects.

First he starts by building an attractive enclosure or fence around his small garden, to keep the wallabies out. It’s a lesson in how to fashion a woven stick fence.

Then, instead of planting in rows he decided to go with mounds, from which he planted three or four sweet potato vines each. He enriched the soil with a layer of wood ashes, before using a digging stick to dig and form the individual mounds. Each mound had a depression in its center.

He then planted a sweet potato vine in one of the four quadrants of each mound, before covering the mounds with dead leaves to reduce evaporation and help the mounds retain moisture.

He grew two kinds of potato, one a legitimate sweet potato (purple in color) and one a yam (white in color).

Unfortunately, due to a thick canopy overhead, the patch did not receive as much light as it should have, and production was low. He did, however, harvest a few sweet potatoes and a yam. He cooked those along with some of the vines in a simple clay pot filled with water, using the hot rock method to bring the water to a boil. The leaves from the vines are edible, as of course are the potatoes.

Singing the praises of the sweet potato he says, “In terms of energy production it’s only 3rd behind sugarcane and cassava. It produces the most food value (a combination of edible energy and nutrition) of any crop per unit space and time.”

Being able to grow and care for a garden of food staples such as sweet potatoes is a skill that every prepper or survivalist should learn.

Like what you see here? You can read more great articles by David Smith at his facebook page, Stumpjack Outdoors.

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NEXT: Primitive Skills: This Man’s Ingenuity Will Blow You Away

Primitive Technology: Planting a Sweet Potato Patch