My Garden ~ a Kiwi's take on life

Life is a lot like a garden

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

Author: Jenny

My garden is where I lose myself, or as Himself likes to tell others, I lose either my coffee mug or wine glass. Well at least I put them on a gatepost so they are easily found. As I see it, we are here on this place to respect and to preserve nature, not to develop the land. I love how the totara trees stand in silent witness to our human activity. They keep me honest. I love to wander along the stream bank. I like being able to grow fruit and vegetables. I enjoy green open space. My son challenged me to write a blog using my garden diaries to start. Writing a blog is quite different to my diary scribblings. It is for a different audience. In every post, I have to make a conscious effort to get free of an academic style of writing. I write about things I know and do in my everyday life. I am not a photographer but the images I use are taken by me. I believe this adds veracity to my voice in each post. Learning to setup and to manage a blog has been a major effort and remains a work in progress. Who knows where this will lead. Himself and I thought we had retired, about to define this older phase of our life together. But family commitments continue. As it happens, I share this place with Himself, son and grandsons and living creatures who live charmed existences. I watch on as they serve as actors weaving their ways across the stage of daily life. Shakespeare wrote in As You Like It: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances; Always, there's something to write about life lived as I know it.

25 thoughts on “My Garden ~ Urenika Potatoes

  1. Do you kow where I can get some of these potatoes so that I can try my hand at planting them?

    Many thanks

  2. Hi Don
    I originally started with seed potatoes bought from the Koanga Institute – website has details. Cheers Jenny.

  3. Pingback: My Garden ~ organic seeds « Jenny Litchfield

  4. do you know the name of the purple moari potatoes??????????

  5. 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.

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

  9. Good plan, Gabrielle. Enjoy the results. Apparently, purple is a must have colour in a healthy diet. Cheers, Jenny.

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

    Thanks for your advice.


  11. 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.

  12. 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.

    • 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

  13. 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.

    • 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

  14. 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

  15. Hi,
    Does anyone knows where can I buy the urenika(maori potatoes)poatoes? Help

    Many Thanks,

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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

  19. 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

  20. 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

  21. 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

  22. 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?

  23. Excellent solutions out of your business, man. I’ve understand your stuff earlier than and you happen to be just extremely wonderful.

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