5 Steps to Potato Planting Success
- Select a seed potato variety and sprout potatoes until they are approximately 20-40mm long.
- Prepare your soil with organic matter like compost and sheep pellets.
- Add a layer of vegetable mix to plant into. Potato planting time is from September-December in New Zealand.
- Feed your potatoes every four weeks to replenish nutrients.
- Mound your potatoes as shoots grow, until they are approximately 300mm tall to protect them and encourage tuber development.
Follow our full guide below to a bumper crop of homegrown spuds.
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. Plant seed potatoes in garden beds or containers.
Select a variety of seed potatoes that suits your tastes/how long you want to wait for your potatoes to be ready, click here for a guide to picking your potato variety.
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 2-4cm long.
If you are starting with an existing garden bed dig in organic matter like sheep pellets and Tui Compost to your soil.
Make long furrows 15cm deep in the soil approximately 30cm apart for smaller varieties and 40cm apart for main crop and larger varieties.
Place palings between the furrows to walk on while planting.
Directions for planting in garden beds:
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.
- Sprinkle Tui Potato Food in the furrows and blend into the soil.
- Place seed potatoes approximately 25cm apart in the furrows.
- Cover with up to 5cm of soil.
- Water your potatoes well.
- Continue mounding your potatoes with Tui Vegetable Mix as shoots grow, until the mounds are approximately 300mm high. 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.
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.
If planting in pots and containers use an all purpose variety, such as Tui NovaTec Premium fertiliser.
Well watered, well nourished potatoes will have a better chance of keeping insect pests and diseases at bay.
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). Earlier varieties are generally unsuitable for storing.
- 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.
- 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.
Once you've harvested your potatoes, try our Crispy Lemon Potato recipe to enjoy your bumper crop.
Don't 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.
For something different, try our Potato Tower Gardening Hack below!