kumara, yams and potatoes
someone explain how you plant kumara? Is it from shoots or the whole
kumara? Also, the same question about yams. I'm in New Plymouth.
What type of potato grows for earliest harvest and when should I
put them in the ground?
can be grown from either the shoots or the whole kumara, but the
usual way is from the shoots, which can be bought from a garden
centre. It is really easy (and much cheaper) to grow your own though.
This involves selecting one or more disease-free kumara (just make
sure it has no blemishes or obvious damage). Take the kumara and
place it on, or partially in, damp sand and put it in a warm place.
Over a period of a few weeks (perhaps 4-6 weeks), the kumara will
put up a number of shoots, which will develop roots in the sand.
When the shoots are about 20 cm high and have vigorous roots, you
can remove them and plant them out. Kumara are very susceptible
to frost, so wait until the chance of frost has gone (usually October-November)
and plant them out on ridges of soil (about 20 cm high). They will
grow best in light, rich, well-drained soil, in a warm, sunny spot.
Yams are planted as the
tubers you buy from the grocer, and are grown in a very similar
way to potatoes. They like quite a lot of fertiliser and compost.
Harvest when the tops die down (around May).
There are a number of
early potato varieties you could plant in New Plymouth. Probably
the most common is 'Ilam Hardy', but there are other, older varieties
which are worth a go, including 'Epicure', 'Arran Banner', 'Jersey
Bennes' and 'Cliff's Kidney', if you can find them. I suggest planting
between July and September for an early (Christmas) crop, but beware
of the tubers rotting or getting blight in the wetter conditions
(well-drained soil would be a good idea).
by Dr Dan Blanchon from Unitec's Diploma in Sustainable Horticulture and Bachelor
of Resource Management.
with permission from NZOOM Home and Garden content,
from the previous
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the RNZIH