Spuds up!

Potatoes are a quintessential crop that anyone can grow. Being an easy and relatively carefree vegetable, all that’s required are a few basic steps to ensure you will have something sweet and delicious to harvest in a few months. Minted new potatoes served with lashings of real butter – Delicious!

Now is the time to be thinking about getting organised for growing potatoes this season. Particularly if you want to have your own tasty tatties ready for Christmas day.

Its easy and what’s more you can grow them just about anywhere as long as they have all day sun. All you need is a plot or a spot for a container. A huge range of containers can be used, old tyres are favourites with many, recycling bins, rubbish bags, kitchen buckets the list is endless, as long as it will hold soil, retain moisture and has drainage you are in business. Most potato crops take about 3 months to grow from planting.

What you need to know:

  • Sprout seed potatoes in trays in August / September. This takes about a month. Lie the potatoes flat on a tray or box somewhere dry. Small green shoots appear, once they are about finger length they are ready to plant out.
  • Only choose certified seed potatoes from the garden or hardware store. Tui Certified Seed Potatoes are available in a wide range of varieties so there is a type to suit every taste and growing preference. These are guaranteed to perform and are free from any nasties that can occur on supermarket bought potatoes.
  • Whilst the potatoes are sprouting, prepare the soil. In the garden, dig over well and to a depth of about 30cm. Blend in vegetable mix or sheep pellets with Tui Potato Food to the soil prior to planting and water well. This enables the soil to settle in and provides the platform for an optimum crop.
  • Plant with the shoots facing upwards in rows 10cm deep and about 30-50cm apart in the garden. In pots or tyres you can plant more if you like, 3 to 5 seeds spuds works well for these size containers.
  • As shoots appear above the ground, ‘mole up’ or mound up the soil to cover the new shoots. This encourages the plant to work harder to produce a larger crop under the soil. Continuing doing this until the plants are about 30cm tall then let the foliage grow up and flower.
  • Water is a key component to a tasty, bountiful crop, keep plants well watered but not water logged through the growing season.
  • Harvest once plants flower or die down. This depends on variety; generally you can feel around under the plant to see how much of a crop is down there. Sneaking a few fresh new potatoes from a plant or two is a treat relished by many.

What not to do:

  • Never plant those reengage spuds you have bought from the supermarket that have sprouted in your pantry. It’s very likely they won’t produce a bumper crop and will rot away in your soil. Certified seed potatoes have been treated to perform and resist attack from pests and diseases.
  • Plant in the shade.
  • Planting potatoes in the same place each year or where tomatoes have been planted the previous season.

Horses for courses, there are loads of different potato varieties. Choose one that suits the style of cooking you prefer. For boiling or steaming and enjoying fresh, the most popular is Jersey Benne. Agria is hard to go past for roasting and mashing and Ilam Hardy is a good all rounder. A bag of seed potatoes costs less than $10 and can produce between 15kgs - 20kgs of potatoes. Making it a very economical option when comparing the price of new potatoes at Christmas time are over $10 just for a small box of less than a kilo.

Heirloom, purple passion and Maori potatoes are available too, seek these out for something different, the shapes vary a bit but the flavour is quite lovely. Farmers markets and catalogues are good places to find these gems.

Remember, fresh is best, and the flavour is king, home grown produce can never be matched by anything from the supermarket!

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Spuds up! Comments

  • Hello I appreciate that you don't make retail sales but who is currently selling your Summer Delight potatoes for the 2013 planting season? I have phoned every retailer in central Auckland in the Yellow pages and noone has them- and most have unfortunately never heard of them. Your reply much appreciated. I am looking for just 1kg.. Thank you

    Christine Plank

  • Hi Christine, thanks for getting in touch. In Auckland we have the following stockists of Summer Delight: Takanini Mitre 10 Mega, Whagaparaoa Mitre 10, Palmers Pakuranga, Palmers Planet Albany, Henderson Mitre 10 Mega, Placemakers New Lynn, Pukekohe Mitre 10, Botany Mitre 10. Thanks, Gemma (Tui Team)


  • Hi Gemma. My question is similar to Christine's . I have patiently waited for my local CRT store to source some Summer Delight in Christchurch only to be told today they can't make it happen. Is there anywhere in Christchurch I can get my hands on some spuds or a way of having some freighted at my expense. Looking for about 15 kgs of seed. Grateful for any assistance Dave


  • Hi Dave, thanks for your question. Mitre 10 Mega Ferrymead stock them. Thanks, Gemma (Tui Team)


  • Hi. I have also tried in Blenheim for Summer Delight, but without success. Can you please tell me the nearest stockist? Many thanks.

    Monz Johnson

  • Hi Monz, thank you for your enquiry. There doesn't appear to be any stockists in Blenheim, I would suggest going into Mitre 10 Mega in Marlborough and ask if they would order some in for you. Thanks, Jenna (Tui Team)


  • Ok, I'm on Stewart Island, where can I get Summer Delight seed potatoes? Thanks!


  • Hi Vicki, thank you for your enquiry. Unfortunately we don’t have any stockists on Stewart Island, the nearest Tui stockist would be Invercargill. Your best option would be to contact Mitre 10 Mega Invercargill (03 219 9000) and ask if they could order Summer Delight seed potatoes in for you and send them to you. Thanks! Tui Team


  • I am trying to locate some Summer Delight seed potatoes. Can you please advise the closest supplier - I live in Alexandra Central Otago. Many thanks

    Janice Rodgers

  • Hi Janice, thank you for your inquiry. I have checked the stockists in your area and none have ordered Summer Delight seed potatoes recently. Contact Mitre 10 Alexandra on 03 448 6884 and check if they have any in stock. If they don't, you can ask if they can order some in for you. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • What stockists are there for the Summer Delight potatoes in Hamilton - I've been keeping an eye out and have not seen any here yet. Thanks


  • Hi Miriam, thank you for your inquiry. We suggest contacting Mitre 10 Mega Hamilton or Palmers Hamilton and ask if they have any Summer Delight seed potatoes in stock. If they don't, you can ask if they could add some to their next order. Thanks - Jenna, Tui Team


  • Hi i am currently wondering about how much land a bag of seed potatoes will plant as am looking at doing a rather sizeable piece. and how big are the bags sold and where in invercargill are they. what would be a great all rounder that would be good for a road side stall. cant keep all the goodies for ourselves. Cheers.


  • Hi Corey, how much land a bag of seed potatoes will plant depends on which size bag you purchase and how many are in each bag. Our Certified Seed Potatoes are available in 1.5kg or 25kg bags. When planting you need to make long furrows in the soil approximately 300mm apart for smaller varieties and 400mm apart for main crop and larger varieties. Then place seed potatoes approximately 250mm apart in the furrows. We suggest Mitre 10 Mega Invercargill or Nichol's Garden Centre Invercargill for our Certified Seed Potato range. Please see here our varieties of Certified Seed Potatoes to find the most suitable variety: http://www.tuigarden.co.nz/sites/default/files/resource/Tui_seed_potato_varieties.pdf If the store does not stock the variety you require, you can ask them to order it in for you. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Hi, I am going to ask the same question as all of the above regarding summer delight. We live in Gisborne and are wanting to grow these this year, but I cannot find them anywhere. Could you please help me also. Many thanks


  • Hi Tracey, thank you for getting in touch. We suggest trying Farmlands Gisborne or Touchstone Garden Centre. If they don't have any Summer Delight in stock, you can ask them if they can order this variety in for you. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Hi, I have been trying to find Summer Delight seed potatoes in Auckland - getting desperate!! Being such a delicious potato with great yield, it's hard to understand why they're not freely available - the major garden centres haven't even heard of them! Would really appreciate your help. Many thanks


  • Hi Margie, thank you for getting in touch and sorry to hear you have had trouble finding Summer Delight seed potatoes. They are a popular variety and although they were available in stores earlier in the season, they are now sold out. You can see our other varieties here: http://www.tuigarden.co.nz/sites/default/files/resource/Tui_seed_potato_varieties.pdf Although not all stores will stock every variety, you can ask the store if they are able to order in a variety for you. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Thanks for your reply Jenna


  • Can you tell me if Summer Delight flowers? Mine have been in the ground for over two months & grown well. The top are starting to yellow off but they haven't flowered?


  • Hi Christine, Summer Delight do have a blue flower, however are not a prolific flowerer. They will be ready in about 4 months so could flower yet but not to worry if they don’t, as sometimes this can happen. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team


  • Hi Have you sent any Summer delight seeds spuds to the west coast of south island. I have asked around in Greymouth but can't seem to find any. Thanks Anna


  • Hi Anna, thank you for getting in touch. No stores on the West Coast have ordered in the Summer Delight variety yet. We suggest contacting your local Mitre 10 store to see if they can order in some for you. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team.


  • Hello, is there anyone in Christchurch, or the Waimakariri stocking your Summer Delight seed potatoes? Thank you.


  • Hi John, thanks for getting in touch. Not many of our seed potatoes are stocked in the South Island but stores are able to order them in. We suggest contacting your local Mitre 10 store and asking if they can order some in for you. Thanks, Jenna - Tui Team.


  • Hi, I'm wanting to plant potatoes for the first time, but I didn't know I had to let my seed potatoes sprout and it is now October... help!

    Adrianna Hepburn

  • Hi Adrianna, there is still time to plant! Have you started sprouting your seed potatoes? Sprout for approximately one month after purchase and then plant. Check out our guide to growing potatoes here: http://www.tuigarden.co.nz/howtoguide/potato-growing-guide - Tui Team


  • Hi Tui, could you give me current stockists of Summer Delight spuds in Auckland...i have had no luck finding them - like many others it seems!

    Melena Myles

  • Hi Melena, the following stores have recently ordered Summer Delight in Auckland: Mitre 10 Mega Takanini, Mitre 10 Mega Westgate, Mitre 10 Mega Henderson, Mitre 10 Mega Botany, Mitre 10 Mega New Lynn. We suggest contacting them first to check they still have stock. Alternatively you can ask your local store if they are able to order some in for you :) Thanks, Tui Team


  • What maori potato seed do you have and how much per kilo.


  • Hi Kath, thanks for getting in touch. We don't have Maori seed potato in our range, however suggest checking at your local garden centre as there are varieties available. Happy gardening from the Tui Team.