Digging up for dinner:


Kumara (sweet potatoes)

The vegetation has mainly frosted off in the garden, I can see dried up stalks of where tubers were planted when I go out to see what I can find in the garden for tea at about 4pm in the afternoon as I'm feeding the the chooks and getting the washing off the line. I had forgotten about the purple Maori potatoes I'd planted, accidentally unearthing them the other day. They and the other potatoes that I still have in the ground are cooking up beautifully boiled or baked. I've been making potato bakes with lots of veges, bacon and cheese sauce because the red head who is a terribly fussy eater actually seems to enjoy them.

The kumara did alot better than I expected, I love sweet winter veges and am so glad to have succeeded this year with these. In my colander is the yield from one plant. I didn't plant enough because I had trouble getting hold of the shoots to plant last spring so I will save the best of these to try and sprout my own for next spring. I find them a wee bit tricky to grow, but they are so worth the effort. They seemed to like the seaweed mound I grew them in but I think need a more sheltered warm spot for next year. One of the fabulous Aunts gave me advice on cultivating them: Point their roots in the direction that the sun rises, and instead of having the roots point deep down, have the ends of them going back up towards the surface (so they are planted in kind of a U shape) This advice was given to her by an old gardener when she was living in Tolaga Bay.


Jessicah said...

Yum! Where did you get your kumara shoots last year? I'm keen to grow some up here. I'm impressed yours have done so well, I've heard they need a really long growing season.
Do you know if I can sprout kumara from the supermarket (If I can keep Michael from using it!!)?

Gillybean said...

Hi Jessicah, Thanks for your questions it's good to know the kind of information people want me to share. I looked and asked around lots of nurseries in the Motueka and Nelson area finally finding about 10 at Bay Nurseries in Richmond one day. They were the golden ones so I bought them and put in an order for the purple ones but they never got back to me to say they had any ready. Meanwhile I rummaged through my racks where I store potatoes, pumpkin and Kumara and found a shop bought one that was making some 1cm shoots. I half buried it in course river sand and when the shoots rooted I pulled them off and planted them out. They were not very succesfull because the time it took me to sprout them took up precious growing time. So in answer to your question: Yes you can grow ones from the supermarket but beware I suspect that some may be treated to stop them sprouting. I'm going to look for evedence of sprouting kumara at the supermarket and buy some of those for spring as well. Also I have since been told that after you sprout them in the sand on the tuber you should pull them off and grow them on for a bit in trays before planting out. I will experiment with these methods during July, August and September this year. Our local buy sell swap newspaper is a good way to find plants that do well in the area too so you may be able to put an add in your local paper and some old gardener may have some saved for years that grow beautifully in your area. I oven get hold of good varieties that way.

All the best from Gilly

Sandra - too heavy to stand on a soapbox, but undeterred said...

Fantastic looking potatoes Gill. We're still eating our own potatoes but I'm having to buy carrots and pumpkin. The orange(ish!) vegetable which I can get to grow well here is beetroot - I used it instead of carrots in a fish pie last week and the result was very yummy.

jasmine t said...

yum, yum yum!!
I have a handmade treat for you!! You signed up to handmade pledge swap i put up last year sometime!!
Anywho email me with your addy if ya want!
Jasmine :)

Kim McBirnie said...

Hi Gilly, those sweet potatoes look amazing! I was toying with the idea of trying them on my allotment in the UK, but I'm not so sure how they will stand up to our cool climate in the north. They are such an amazing colour, though!
Love your blog,
Kim xx