HERALD WEEKLY ISSUE 608: 21 March 2012

Grow your own potatoes says local expert
No potatoes? Answer: grow your own. That’s what Gordon “Spud” Murray, Tupapa’s noted potato grower, recommends.
Gordon has noted that there are no potatoes in the shops at present but says locals can easily grow their own either from seeds or grown potatoes.
Potatoes take about six weeks to grow and Gordon is about to harvest his second crop which he planted at the beginning of May.
He has planted the “Moonlight” variety which is a white skinned potato that’s firm when cooked. It may not be as large as a New Zealand grown potato but they are big enough. Three are enough for a meal.
According to Gordon he can get around 30 plants from a kilo of seeds. That’s after the crop has been raided by chickens and persons unknown. Each plant will yield about eight potatoes. That’s around 240 potatoes per kilo of seeds. Harvesting takes place when the leaves turn yellowy. Gordon likes to harvest the crop when they are the same size as when planted. To grow from a grown potato, Gordon cuts it in half then rubs the cut side with wood ash before placing in a furrow. The wood ash turns to potash when in contact with rain. He feeds the plant’s leaves with liquid blood and bone during growth.
To keep himself active, Gordon also has kumaras in the ground and shortly will start drying bananas using a drier he built himself.
Gordon has been growing potatoes for many years and is willing to give anyone advice if they wish to start growing their own.
Gordon will shortly plant a third crop which will be ready in October. -Charles Pitt

Herald Issue 608 21 March
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