Gardening with perennials

Perennials as part of building garden resilience

Taking care of perennials This is one of a series of blogs “Nutrient Dense Food and Carbon Sequestration using Local Sourced Fertiliser: Kay Closes The Loop” This one focuses on perennials.

Creating a perennial garden bed

Perennials that are best planted in the Spring time In this section you can find out about lots of interesting and often hard to find perennial plants that are planted in the Spring. We are gradually compiling information, growing tips and recipes for all of these plants including yacon, jerusalem artichokes, chinese water chestnuts, alpine strawberries and much more. Many of these plants are available for purchase as starter packs. For more information on what is available to buy click here 

In praise of perennial alliums Discovering the perennial alliums that the Institute holds in the Back Order collection has been a real blessing. I discovered Welsh Bunching Onions first and we enjoy these clump forming, spring onion-like onions very much – in salads but also used in cooking …. read more

Growing Great Garlic

Along with many plants that are grown as perennials our back order perennial collection contains plants that are perennials but are usually grown as annuals. These include kumara, garlic and potatoes.

Growing Past Garlic Rust

Garlic rust has become a significant problem for many people. Kay shares her thoughts on how to prevent rust.


Growing kumara  Kumara growing begins in late August when the Lands plant the beds, called tāpapa, for growing the kumara tupu. Tupu are rooted shoots which grow from the parent kumara and can be pinched off and planted out to form a kumara plant. The tāpapa is made with free draining, coarse river sand which prevents the kumara rotting in the Spring rain, and only has a small amount of nutrients, so doesn’t support lots of weed growth. Read more …

How to grow great kumara Kumara are one of our main staple crops and a huge favourite for us. For most people who buy kumara their choices are limited to either gold or red but Koanga has a range of pre European and early commercial varieties which range in colour from red, through dark pink, orange, golden, pale pink to white. As well as varying in colour the leaf shape, growth habits and flavours also vary with some being sweeter than others. Read more ….


Growing Koanga Institute Potatoes in the Hokianga The Koanga Institute potato collection is a very special collection of old varieties that have come to us from all over the country, often with different names from different places. Holding this collection, and making as many varieties as possible available to members in the form of high quality seed potatoes, is an important role for the Koanga Institute. Read more…

Fertilising potatoes