How To Harvest Kumara

Such a good kumara growing summer … all those long hot days. My crop’s been in for 130 days (somewhere in that 120 – 150 days is ideal), and the tubers feel nice and fat beneath the soil. It’s time to harvest! Don’t go leaving it till the leaves yellow, set your store instead in days from transplant to harvest and let the cooler nights and mornings be an indicator to dig them up.

Choose a lovely sunny day, preferably having had a few dry days prior.

kumara pre harvestCut off all the foliage off with hedge clippers and use that beautiful pile of biomass to mulch the bed after you’ve gotten the crop up.

Use your trusty forksta to gently loosen the soil, then get in with your hands and scrape the dirt away with to reveal the nest of tubers.

Kumara plant

Kumara snuggle their fragile ends into the hard stuff making them a bhuddist act to get out if you are on heavy soils. Follow their twists and turns carefully to extract them whole if you can. Be ever so careful here, they break easily, and broken = no storage capabilities.

Lay them on racks, out of direct sunlight, under cover to cure (harden the skins and bring out the sugars) for a few days before storing, and infact eating.

curing

 

  • The thin, little tubers go soft pretty quickly. Either gobble them up in a stirfry (sod all flavour, but just for the fun of it!) or give them to stock – my pig is ever grateful.
  • The broken ones don’t store either – these need to go on the top so you use them first.

kilo kumaraAnd wowee – what a mega crop this year. An average of 4.5 tubers per slip. Which, when the tubers are this big – makes me very happy!

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. Sue @ Murch says

    Many thanks, Kath, for all your advice about growing and harvesting kumara, both online and in your e-book. Your tips on how to lift them without (much) mishap and cure in the greenhouse are invaluable. If I could attach a photo I would show you the sort of yield we have had here in Murchison – who says you can’t grow kumara in the SI? – the largest tubers are more than a foot long. The variety is a Koanga Institute heirloom one, Tuputini, that used to be grown by SI Maori in kete bags that they could carry around and put in warm places — has a more bushy habit with the tubers (mostly) neatly grouped vertically under the plant. I will grow my own tupu from these, following your instructions!

    • Thanks so much Sue! It’s really helpful for others to know that its possible down south. I appreciate you taking the time to write.
      nga mihi nui Kath