My Garden ~ Urenika Potatoes

Urenika or Maori potatoes are easy to grow and can be cultivated for most of the year in our moderate climate. I place the seed potatoes on wilted comfrey leaves over rotted hay on top of clay loam soil and then cover with hay or straw. I like to plant the potatoes in a windy and dry area as protection from mildew or fungal disease. In the six years I have grown these potatoes, I have not needed to spray the plants. These potatoes have flourished despite the weather fluctuations and seem resistant to  disease.

Harvesting the potatoes needs minimal effort as I push the mulch aside. There is much to be said for the no-dig approach to gardening. Clods of soil do not adhere to the potatoes. The soil enriched by worms and humus matter is workable and is ready for planting a different vegetable crop. At this point I will scatter sheep manure over the soil and leave the garden bed to rest a while. Less physical effort for the gardener. Mint finely chopped, freshly ground pepper, butter and salt to taste complement this simple dish.

Urenika potatoes Urenika potatoes

25 thoughts on “My Garden ~ Urenika Potatoes

  1. Hi Sam
    I know the purple Maori potatoes as either Perperu or Urenika. I checked the list of Maori Potatoes I got from Koanga Gardens. Urenika is also be known as Tuarua Waikato, Keretewha, Rongo Blue and Tutaekuri. Hope this is helpful.

  2. Hi Jenny, How long is it before these potatoes are ready to eat? I’m just about to plant some, but have no idea what the yield time is! Thanks Sharan

  3. Hi Sharan,
    I tend to harvest these potatoes about March-April. They have a longer season than others. What I do is to grub a bit earlier on for the smaller potatoes which are not so floury as the larger, more mature elongated potatoes.
    Cheers, Jenny.

  4. Hi Jenny
    what a mine of inspiration and info you are for a novice like me!
    I bought some moimoi potatoes last week that looked like maori potatoes I’d met before (little and purple-are they?) anyway a couple have sprouted so thought I’d just plant them like the rest of my spuds, good or bad plan, in your opinion?
    thanks gabrielle

  5. How long will uncooked, unpeeled Maori potatoes last in the refrigerator – or should they be stored elsewhere?

    Thanks for your advice.


  6. Hi Sarah
    I don’t know how long the Maori potatoes will last in the fridge – we usually store them in a basket in a cool dry spot in our pantry away from sunlight. Actually, they never last long with us because we tend to cook and eat what we dig up. The potatoes do last well in the ground as long as they aren’t exposed to the sun.
    Cheers, Jenny.

  7. Hello Jenny,
    I have had the pleasure of growing Maori potato’s for nearly two years now in the amazing sandy loam of the Kaipara, the one I grow is Karuparera which has a darkish purple skin with eyes & banding of white on it, all different shape and size from this one with some reaching about 5 or 6 inches in length and about 3 inches across. I grow several different potato’s but this Maori one is fast becoming my favorite.
    Thankyou for having this Kiwi Garden blog Jenny.
    Best wishes, James.

    1. Hi James, Karuparera sounds wonderful. I’ll have to try this variety when I get back to NZ and gardening. Envy you the Kaipara sandy loam – we have clay and all the work that goes with that. Cheers, Jenny

  8. Hi All, I am growing urenika potatoes in a green garden bag (3 per bag) and all of a sudden the tops are turning yellow.I added more compost as they grew,and the bottom of the bag seems to be slightly moist. Could someone tell me what I may be doing wrong.Potatoes were planted 19/10/09
    Thanks Jill.

    1. Hi Jill – I haven’t grown these potatoes in a garden bag before. Are they getting enough air? Does the bag have good drainage? Good luck. Jenny

  9. Hi i live in Gisborne, when is a good time to plant maori spuds? do i chit them in the dark? and how long would that take…thank you for any help

  10. hi,ive been growing the karuparera the purple skin with eyes and a yellow flesh which are my favourite for 6 years and just wondering if my seed is weakoning due to a poor crop last year and im wanting to purchase a some fresh seed thanks,,,ive also known them as the Peru Peru spud

  11. Hi Marilyn, If you have not been successful in getting the Urinkika potatoe. look on trademe. I have planted mine and when they are up in March April 2011, i could send you some. I am also growing other varieties.

  12. What a wonderful site to come across, my father used to grow maori potatoes when we were kids, a friend of mine is just starting out now an it brought back some lovely memories i told her i would find out as much info as i could but ill just direct her to you!! Thank you

  13. hi, ive noticed some new spuds intruding in my garden. they sound like the urenika but are they edible? our council said not to try but they are very persistant and grow back every year

  14. Hi,
    I’ve just been given some Urenika potatoes to grow, is it ok to plant these in late March? Your comments say that you are normally reaping the benfits then

  15. I’ve got some maori potatoes my nana has been growing for 55 years they are amazing!!! When is the best time to plant them? Can I plant them now or should I want bit longer???

    Cheers Teena

  16. Hi we planted heaps of the purple maori potatoes , we harvested some last week and they were purple, but when we went to get some out today they had turned white!?
    what has happened to them?

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