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Growing Sweet Potato, also Kumara

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
                       

Not recommended for growing in New Zealand - cool/mountain regions

  • Plant shoots or cuttings (Slips). Best planted at soil temperatures between 63°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 16 - 24 inches apart
  • Harvest in 15-17 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): Best in Separate bed
  • New shoots on Kumara
  • Well grown Kumara

Sweet Potatoes require a long warm growing season. Plant in free draining loose soil . Fertilise before planting but no more when the plants are growing as it will encourage vine growth. They will go for miles and you will get no tubers. If they do start spreading, lift the vines off the ground to prevent them rooting.

Mound up the soil about 20cm (8 in) before planting Let the plants die down, (leaves die or turn yellow) before harvesting the tubers. Dry them in the sun for a few days . then store in a cool dry place for up to five months.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet Potato

Use mashed, boiled, roasted, baked or fried. Or use in soups, pies, casseroles, curries and salads.

Your comments and tips

30 Oct 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Here is how they grow them commercially in sub tropical southern Queensland Australia. They hill the soil up with a 2' base and about 1' high - paddock looks like corrugated iron - wave pattern. They then take cuttings (called slips about 50-60cm long) of vine from a pre-existing growing plant. These are planted (in the top part of the mound) horizontally into the soil with just the tip sticking out of the soil. Keep well watered the first week or two until the plant starts growing. Good rich soil to start with and then do not fert again especially with N. You want root development not vine production. If looking for cuttings/slips/tubers ask friends/neighbours/produce companies/internet sites etc or start a tuber as stated here.
26 Oct 18, Julie McLean (New Zealand - temperate climate)
I'm a very beginner gardener and want to try my hand at kumara . Your advice and comments are helpful and interesting. Thanks Julie.
18 Oct 18, john ward (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
where can i get some orange kumara cuttings .Not easy to find im having problems trying to get them sprouting
23 Oct 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Ask around nurseries or produce/farming depots /supply companies or phone some of them.
02 Oct 18, Warren Leedes (New Zealand - cool/mountain climate)
Firstly thanks for the web site I would like to grow the different coloured Kumara, how do I go about getting seeds please? Any advice would be gratefully received Kind regards Warren Leedes
04 Oct 18, Paul (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Plant the tubers that you want to grow but in a separate bed. They will sprout lots of shoots which will also have roots near the base. When the shoots are 40 to 50 cm long put a fork under the tuber and gently lift it out. Separate the shoots and plant them in the bed you have prepared for them as indicated in the article above. Last year, before I knew this, I planted several tubers where I wanted them to grow but after learning the right method I dug up three and planted out about 50 slips. The slips can be left in water while you are waiting to plant them out and in a few days mine put out prolific roots where the base was under water. You can also start the sprouting inside, cutting the tops off tubers and putting the cut down in shallow water, then planting them out when they start to sprout. Roots will also start growing but later than the shoots. Look for the eyes in the tubers as they are where the shoots come from.
08 Oct 18, Mike (New Zealand - sub-tropical climate)
Also you can use 50-60cm sections of the growing plants 6-8 week old and plant them along the ground with the tip out of the soil. Roots will grow from where each leaf joins the vine.
19 Sep 18, Eddy (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Can they grow on canterbury christchurch
06 Oct 18, denise (New Zealand - temperate climate)
i live in Kaiapoi and grow in tubs. the soil is warmer
21 Sep 18, Mike (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Did you read the notes here. I suggest you do and pay attention to when to plant.
Showing 1 - 10 of 35 comments

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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. GardenGrow is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.
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