Do Maori potatoes require the same conditions as regular potatoes?
Yes. These small purple spuds prefer moist, slightly acidic soil. If you think your soil is not acidic enough, dig in compost, leaf mould, grass clippings, wood ash and/or pine needles, not lime as this encourages potato scab. Sprout the potatoes before planting about 10cm deep, with the shoots facing upwards. Choose a sunny spot, and mound up the soil once shoots appear above the ground. Keep watered in dry weather and harvest when tops die down.
How can I eliminate alstroemeria that's growing through my shrubs?
Two varieties are often a problem: a. psittacina, which has red and green funnel-shaped flowers; and a. aurea, with yellow/orange blooms. I once had a patch of the latter, and one day noticed an odd popping sound - the seed heads exploding. If you want to get rid of either, don't let the flowers set seed. A careful application of glyphosate-based weedkiller (eg, Roundup) should get the active ingredient down to the roots, but allow several weeks.
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