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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 USA - Zone 5a regions

  • Plant shoots or cuttings (Slips). Best planted at soil temperatures between 17°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 40 - 60 cm 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

12 Apr 19, June Wark (Australia - temperate climate)
I’ve got orange sweet potato slips growing but your table @page top states not suitable for growing temp. zones - could you tell me why please. Very willing to learn as l’m new to growing veggies. Thank you.
26 Apr 19, Graham smith (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi June. I plant a sweet potatoe around August or September and let it grow wild. Then I take cuttings from that about 3weeks before Christmas and plant them out ,making sure I water them in really well for the first week or so. Then I harvest them just after the first frost with pretty good success.
06 Apr 19, Sam (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there.. I harvested my Kumara in March and unfortunately most of them tubers had multiple small holes in them. Looks like some type of insects got there first and ruined it. Is there anything that I can spray them with and kill them little bugs before they ruin my crops next season.. cheers
23 Mar 19, Zukile (South Africa - Summer rainfall climate)
Where can i get seed for sweet potato in south africa or eastern cape ?
09 Mar 19, Andrea (New Zealand - temperate climate)
Hi there,I live in chilly chch but want to attempt to grow kumera. I had one sprouting so I cut it in half and put it in water and now it's sprouting . But it's the wrong time of yr,March to plant them . How can I keep my sprout until October ? Thanks
10 Mar 19, Mike Logan (New Zealand - temperate climate)
It may survive if you plant it now - might not grow much or produce a crop. Might be better to try again say Oct and plant out Nov Dec. You are temperate climate.
07 Mar 19, Bruce (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I live on the Sunshine Coast Qld and I am trying to source runners or tubers of the NZ Kumara, if anyone has some available I’m willing to purchase, the Aussie sweet potato is so so different.
08 Mar 19, Erin (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, I have Beauregard sweet potato if that is a nz variety?
12 Apr 19, Bruce (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Unfortunately that one isn’t the NZ kumara
07 Mar 19, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Try the internet - seed and bulb places - like diggers club. You would probably have to buy a SP and then plant it to produce runners/shoots /slips.
Showing 1 - 10 of 210 comments

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.

- Paul

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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. Gardenate 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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