And our 2019 Yates Budding Young Gardener is… Jamie Frost!

Te Awamutu green thumb, Jamie Frost (10) has won the Central North Island regional title (from 7 regions around NZ), and then the overall National Budding Young Gardener title as part of the nation-wide search for the Yates Budding Young Gardener 2019.

Jamie’s love of gardening started around three years old, with his Granny Di being a major inspiration and with guidance from his Mum and Dad.

“My favourite part about gardening is pulling off the sweet spring green peas from the peapod, eating them fresh, then planting more,” said Jamie. “I also grow a lot of NZ Spinach, the only vegetable native to New Zealand, as that is the main ingredient in my favourite meal – Saag.”

Jamie also has a penchant for pumpkins. After seeing a photograph of his one-year old self beside a giant pumpkin, he insisted on entering the Hamilton based Great Pumpkin Carnival growing competition every year.
“For nine years in a row I’ve been entering the pumpkin growing competition. I have made pumpkins into all sorts of things – caterpillars, cats, eyeballs and even a sun-bathing ninja.”

Jamie said he feels very lucky to live in the country and have a big backyard with a big garden. “Our garden grows enough food for the whole family, so we don’t have to buy it and we can have fresh vegies all year round.”

Jamie has won a family trip to Hawaii and becomes the Yates Kid Ambassador for a year.


Big Fat Kumara!


Hi, Jamie here, Yates Kids Gardening Ambassador. Along with my brother Luis, I have planted a kumara patch this year. I love eating roasted kumara, soooo yummy.

The shoots off the kumara are called slips. You can actually sprout these yourself from a kumara if you have enough time. We visited The Garden Shop in Te Awamutu to find out when to plant the slips, and he said wait until it was above 10 degrees at night time, as they like it warm.

A good trick we learnt is to plant the roots facing upwards, which means curling them into a J shape and packing the dirt around them. This year we planted the slips in trenches like potatoes, but at Hamilton Gardens they plant them in mounds with lots of sand and stones. We lined our trenches with cardboard (not sure if this will work but Dad thought so), then comfrey leaves and Yates Potash mixed with the dirt and compost. The comfrey is like a natural slow release fertiliser and full of good healthy minerals.

Kumara will only grow fat tubers if they are fooled into thinking there’s not enough water, so they don’t just grow lots of roots. Before we learnt about pointing the roots up and lifting the leaves to stop more roots, Mum’s old kumara plot grew the tiniest little tittlers, it was funny. Why don’t you give kumara growing a try?

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