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Growing kumara

I am trying to grow kumara. I planted the bulbs (one original bulb, cut into three bulbs and then planted) around March of this year. I realise that this may not have been the most productive time to plant the bulbs, however I had no choice. The bulbs have produced a large spread of vine-type leaves but have not flowered in any way. Will the kumara grow under the soil or will they simply grow on top of the soil attached to the vine? Am I correct in assuming that there should be kumara towards December?


Kumara require a long, hot growing season and good drainage. Plant in September and harvest in March. Tubers develop best in a light well-drained soil. Heavy soils are not recommended. Plant in mounds 7 cm-10 cm high to improve drainage.

Cultivate around plants to control weeds — eventually the vines will cover the soil and prevent weed growth. Keep plants well watered as they grow. Additional fertiliser is not required, provided fertiliser is mixed in at planting time.

As the vines grow and spread, occasionally lift them up and cultivate underneath to discourage rooting at nodes along the stems. If this isn't done, a poor crop will result.

Harvest when the foliage yellows and dies down. Leave in a heap for six to seven days to cure. If cold weather or frosts are likely, dig up immediately. Allow the foliage to dry off completely before storing. Tubers are mature when the skin is firm. If a tuber is immature it will exude a milky sap when cut.

UnitecAdvice by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor of Resource Management.

Reproduced with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous website of  TVNZ News

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