Residents interested in growing sweet potatoes can order seed potatoes from the Ascension Parish Extension Office through Jan. 19.

As a service to Louisiana residents, the LSU Agricultural Center’s Sweet Potato Research Station produces foundation sweet potato seed annually. These seed potatoes are to be bedded in the row to produce “slips” or cuttings, which are then transplanted to the field to produce the crop, Craig Roussel, horticulture agent for Ascension and St. James parishes, said in a news release

This year, eight varieties will be available for purchase; however, some varieties have limited availability. All varieties are certified to be free of viruses. The varieties available are Beauregard B-63, Beauregard B-14, Evangeline, O’ Henry, Hernandez, Porto Rico, Jewel and HeartoGold.

Beauregard B-63 was selected in Louisiana. It is well adapted to local soil types and has a light rose-colored skin, which fades slightly in storage, and a moderately deep orange flesh, the release said.

Beauregard B-14 was selected in North Carolina. It tends to make shorter roots than B-63 when grown in the sandy soils of North Carolina. However, it tends to be a little short and blocky when grown in Louisiana’s silt loam soils, especially if the soil becomes somewhat compacted.

Evangeline was released from the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station in 2007. Its skin color is slightly redder than Beauregard and flesh color is a vivid, bright orange. Evangeline is similar to Beauregard in production characteristics and has been a consistent performer in research trials, the release said. Yield potential is comparable to Beauregard, but it does not produce as many jumbos.

O’Henry was a mutation selected from Beauregard. It has a cream-colored skin and white flesh, and has disease resistance similar to Beauregard.

Hernandez is a late-maturing variety, and has a red skin color and deep orange flesh.

Porto Rico has a copper skin color and a salmon-colored flesh. Jewel was released from North Carolina Agricultural Research Service and has a copper skin color and orange flesh.

HeartoGold is an old variety that was released from the Louisiana Agricultural Experiment Station in 1947. It has a flesh-colored skin and a deep orange flesh.

A description and pictures of these and other varieties can be found at tinyurl.com/o6twyaw.

The top two varieties recommended for the area are Beauregard B-63 and Evangeline, Roussel said.

The cost of a 40-pound box of seed potatoes is $16.50 for Beauregard (B-63 and B-14), $18.50 for Evangeline and $25 for all other varieties.

Ordering deadline is noon Jan. 19.

To order, call the Ascension Parish Extension Office at (225) 621-5799.