Have you ever had sweet potatoes rot at the crown?

Some of you may have been following my sweet potato saga this year.

First, I had groundhog damage, especially at one end of the bed. Got rid of it, and the plants refoliated.

Then – when I dug the first batch (variety ‘Diane’) most had some scurf on them, some heavy.

Sunday, I dug the remaining Copper Jewel and Betty’s. Copper Jewel started off promising, three large, scurf-free roots from the first hill. Decent yield pound-wise but not a lot of potatoes.

However, the next couple crowns were rotted and detached from the roots – and the couple roots I found under there were actually rotten.

Normally, what I do is, cut the vines down to a few inches, then grab the stem at the ‘crown’ and slowly pull with a bit of a side to side wiggle and I can unearth at least some of the roots that way, then it’s easy enough to dig around by hand (or carefully with a fork) to get the rest. This time, after that first one with the nice roots, the next couple broke right off, clearly rotten/dead, at the root crown with nothing beneath. The vines were still alive, probably due to rooting along the stem, so they were able to still get water and nutrients despite the original root crown being dead.

Has anyone ever had this happen?

I continued down the row and only got a few more small usable roots.

Betty’s, OTOH, which sustained the most groundhog damage, yielded nothing over fingerling size.

Side note -

if the curing chamber I’ve created is at the right temp and humidity the roots keep trying to sprout even before they are cured.

If I take the humidity down, they shrivel.

If I break off any sprouts the start popping up now, will they be able to resprout in spring if I want to use them as “seed” for slip production?

If not, how do I prevent sprouting now without ruining them for eating or sprouting later?