Kiwis will be forking out more for winter veggies with weeks of record-level rainfall wiping out crops.

It has been a chaotic few weeks for storm-battered New Zealand, as the Tasman Tempest and Cyclones Debbie and Cook drenched the country, causing widespread flooding and damage.

With crops swamped in growing regions such as Pukekohe and Levin, winter staples including broccoli, cauliflower, spinach and lettuce will be in short supply.

President of produce industry body United Fresh, Jerry Prendergast said prices would rise as a result. As yet, there had not been any "massive spikes."

The rainfall had also caused unusual gaps on supermarket shelves.

"We might end up seeing flushes over the next few months of certain lines but other lines won't be there for a week or so," said Prendergast.


"You have to be prepared to be a little bit flexible. That way you'll find you still get really good value, you'll still be able to meet your budget requirements, you'll still get five plus a day.

"It's about thinking a little bit differently because we have got so used to walking in to a retailer and...expecting to have the full range available every day of the week."

Prendergast said the wet weather has had a "double-whammy" effect for growers including leaving crops waterlogged.

"When the soil is waterlogged the plant sort of says 'actually...I'm just gonna sit here for a bit and wait until I get some oxygen around me to grow.

"So, there are growers that have good crops in the ground but they aren't getting much growth."

On the other hand, some newly-planted crops were completely washed away by the Tasman Tempests.

"The poor grower then goes out and starts again and has another five or 10 days of preparation, then last week a few of the growers got [heavy rain] again.

"And now we've got pretty heavy rain going through this weekend."

Prendergast promised that the shortage of leafy greens will be followed by "a good, plentiful supply".

"When produce is plentiful, those prices will come down."

If you have green fingers, getting outdoors and planting your own vegetables could be just the solution.

"The weather probably has a bigger impact on the commercial side compared to the home gardener," said Palmers Garden Centre category manager Ron Van Zuilen.

Van Zuilen said that whilst most home gardeners are not particularly active outdoors this time of year, autumn is a good time to plant because the soil is still relatively warm.

"If you were keen enough to go out's probably quite good to plant in the rain.

"Autumn is a good time to plant because the soil is relatively warm so roots tend to settle into the ground better.

"It is the bigger plants you would plant that have a better root system. The roots are a bit deeper and tougher."


Van Zuilen recommends planting winter veggies including broccoli, cauliflower and cabbages as soon as the rain eases, while trees, hedges and shrubbery are good to go this weekend, rain or shine.

Palmers Garden Centre tips for growing plants in the current conditions:
1) Delay planting spring bulbs until the rain has eased. The moist, warm soil will be beneficial for their growth.
2) Get traditional winter veggies including cabbages, broccoli, cauliflower and silverbeet in the ground as soon as the rain stops. Autumn is the traditional planting time for winter produce.
3) This weekend is a great time to plant bigger trees, hedging and shrubbery as the extra water will help the roots make contact with the soil, giving you a greater success rate.
4) When the rain stops, aerate your soil with a fork to alleviate any compaction caused by downpours.
5) Don't be scared of the rain, get stuck in and get planting.