Growing Sweet Potato, also Kumara

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14 Mar 09 Starrlite (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there :-) found this thread while looking for a diagram of kumara (sweet potato) and thought this info might help you Jason. In early Feb, had this awesome fella come show us how to plant kumara in the traditional way, used successfully by Maori before European colonisation. I recently emailed him asking for general care and cultivation tips... this was his reply: "Kia ora ano sis, chur mean, glad to hear the kumara are in abundance! Have y'all pulled the runners up yet? - about 3 weeks ago you shouldve pulled up the runners on a sunny day and exposed the roots to the sun for a few hours to kill them. Otherwise the plants direct energy away from the tubers and into setting down new roots via the runners and your kumara wont be as big as they could. If you havent done it yet, still do! At that point you can also start harvesting the new shoots of vine growth - pick leaves and vines that are still that brighter green and use it like puha or watercress. If you eat mature leaves it might upset your stomach so kia tupato! (you probably already know all this!). This has same effect of directing energy to the tubers." For your reference, "puha and watercress" are greens that can be added to salads or boiled/blanched similar to spinach and silverbeet and "kia tupato" means I need to "be careful" - eating mature leaves can be harmful! Well, I am off to pull up the runners and expose them to the sun! Glad there is some today :-) Good luck with the kumara growing!! "As the garden grows so does the gardener." - Proverb
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