Our kumara is shipped as tupu or small rooted shoots. We do our best to package them well but the conditions they experience after posting are out of our control. As live plants they are vulnerable so have been wrapped with damp newspaper around their roots to keep them moist.
Upon arrival please unpack the parcel as soon as possible, carefully unwrap the bundles of tupu and stand them in a container with their roots in cool water and in a shady place to revive for at least a few hours and preferably for a day or so before planting. After planting keep watered for the first few days.
Occasionally an order will include shoots without roots. This is not a problem and is actually how our grower plants them. Plant as below and keep watered until established.
If the risk of frost has not yet passed please keep an eye on the weather and cover the planting with frost cloth or shade cloth to protect them.
Kumara prefer light sandy soils with a hard pan about a foot under the surface. They can also do well in clay soils.
We plant our kumara in beds that are about 1 metre wide. We shape the bed so that a mound runs length ways along it. We then plant the kumara in two rows, one on each side of the mound, at a spacing of about 12 inches along each row. We stagger them so that the tupu on one side are positioned opposite the middle of the space on the other side.
Bend the rooted part of the tupu into a J shape when planting so that the roots face up again under the ridge of soil facing east or, in some traditions, north.
Traditional additions to the soil were baked ground shell, seaweed and woodash. We also use compost and Nature’s Garden fertiliser.
After planting keep watered for the first few days and as required after that. Cover with frost cloth or shade cloth if there is a risk of frost.