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Plant spuds with NZ Gardener's expert advice

Media Release 2 October 2008

Plant spuds with NZ Gardener's expert advice

Kiwi gardeners are planting record numbers of potatoes this spring - and NZ Gardener is making it easy to get the best backyard crop.

The United Nations declared 2008 International Year of the Potato and NZ Gardener has joined the crusade in support of the humble spud with expert growing advice in its October issue.

"Potatoes can go in as soon as the risk of late frosts passes and, if you plant them this weekend, you'll get your first crop of gourmet baby potatoes in time for Christmas," says NZ Gardener editor Lynda Hallinan.

Sales of seed potatoes have dramatically increased this spring, with Burnet's Horticulture - one of the biggest suppliers to garden centres nationwide - reporting that sales have more than doubled this season.

"For every seed potato you plant, expect to harvest 15 big fat spuds in summer. In fact, a 1.5kg bag of seed potatoes could yield a mighty 20kg of medium-sized spuds," says Hallinan.

"Some gardeners are put off growing potatoes because they take up too much space, but you can also plant them in a stack of tyres, a commercial compost bin, a recycled crate, large buckets or even a black plastic garbage bag filled with soil."

In the October issue of NZ Gardener, Southland gardener Robert Guyton gives his top tips on growing potatoes in part five of the magazine's Back to Basics guide to growing your own fruit and vegetables. The NZ Gardener team also name their top 10 favourite varieties, including heritage potatoes like purple 'Urenika', 'Kowiniwini" and modern hybrids such as 'Desiree'.

Basil, corn, eggplant, okra, runner beans, watermelon or zucchini - you name it, October is the month to sow heat-loving vegetables. The October issue of NZ Gardener includes sowing guides and harvesting times for all of your favourite summer vegetables.

For more of a nutty flavour, why not try growing your own almonds? Ann and Bob Phillips planted a 20 tree almond orchard on their property at Mapua, near Nelson, five years ago and they now average around six kilograms of fruit from each tree per harvest. Almonds perform well in kiwi climes and are a great long-term garden investment if you're looking for delicious annual returns. 'All-in-One', 'Moonvale' and the dwarf 'Garden Prince' and three almond varieties that grow well at home.

In the latest issue of NZ Gardener you can also learn how to grow grapes with the prospect of making your own homegrown wine in mind, or create a cute blackboard herb box with the help of DIY guy Justin Newcombe.

The October issue of NZ Gardener is literally good enough to eat and is on sale now.


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