Potato Growing Guide

The humble potato is a staple on many dinner tables around New Zealand. Roasted, boiled, mashed or in a salad – no matter how you serve yours, they will always taste better dug out of your own garden. Follow our potato growing guide to plant Tui Certified Seed Potatoes in garden beds or containers, and you'll be harvesting a bumper crop of homegrown potatoes this season.

Prepare

1. Grow your potatoes from Tui Certified Seed Potatoes – these are certified to ensure they are true to type, and will grow a healthy crop. Select a variety of seed potatoes that suits your tastes/how long you want to wait for your potatoes to be ready. View the list of Tui Seed Potato Varieties here.

2. Buy your seed potatoes at least a month before planting, to enable them to sprout. Remove them from the bag and place in trays in a dry, airy spot away from direct sunlight, until sprouts are approximately 20-40mm long.

3. If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and Tui Compost to your soil.

4. Make long furrows in the soil approximately 300mm apart for smaller varieties and 400mm apart for main crop and larger varieties.

5. Place palings between the furrows to walk on while planting.

Plant

Directions for planting in garden beds:

6. Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix, a high quality natural-based planting mix containing the right blend of nutrients to provide your potatoes with the best possible start and sustained growth throughout the season. If planting in pots and containers use Tui Vegetable Mix.

7. Sprinkle Tui Potato Food in the furrows and blend into the soil.

8. Place seed potatoes approximately 250mm apart in the furrows.

9. Cover with up to 50mm of soil.

10. Water your potatoes well.

11. Continue mounding your potatoes with Tui Vegetable Mix as shoots grow, until they are approximately 300mm tall. This protects them from wind and frost, prevents light reaching tubers and turning them green, and encourages tuber development.

Directions for planting in containers or grow bags:

  • Make sure there are plenty of drainage holes in your container.
  • Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix to the bottom of the container.
  • Place seed potatoes in Tui Vegetable Mix near the bottom of the container.
  • Add a layer of Tui Vegetable Mix to cover the potatoes.
  • Water your potatoes well.
  • As the sprouts grow, keep adding mix until it is up to the brim of the container.

Nourish

12. Feed your plants and they will feed you. Replenishing nutrients used by your plants ensures they will grow to their full potential. Potatoes are gross feeders, feed every three to four weeks during key growth periods. For potatoes planted in garden beds feed with a specialty fertiliser like Tui Potato Food, which contains high levels of phosphorus and potassium promote healthy tuber production and plant growth.

13. If planting in pots and containers use an all purpose variety, such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.

14. Well watered, well nourished potatoes will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.

Protect

15. The weather, weeds, pest insects and diseases can all impact on the success of your garden. Mounding will help protect your potatoes from the elements. Carefully hoe around sprouts to keep your crop weed free. When watering, water the soil not the foliage to avoid blight. Be vigilant and stop unwanted insects and diseases from ruining your plants.

Harvesting & Storage

Early varieties are ready to harvest when the flowers are fully opened, approximately three months after planting, (except for Nadine, Rocket and Swift which may have few or no flowers on them). Main and late cropping varieties are ready when the foliage dies off. If you can easily rub off the potato’s skin with your thumb, the variety of potato is not good for storing, so eat these first. Earlier varieties are generally unsuitable for storing. As soon as potatoes have been dug, dry thoroughly and store in a cool, dark, well ventilated position. Carefully stored potatoes should last for up to six months.

Tui Tip:

  • Do not plant potatoes in the same place each year, and avoid planting them where tomatoes have been planted the previous season, to reduce the risk of spreading disease

Try our Potato Tower Gardening Hack below!