I know that timing is everything when it comes to planting potatoes. The ideal time to plant potatoes is in the early spring when the soil temperature reaches around 45-50°F (7-10°C). Planting potatoes too early or too late can lead to poor yields or even crop failure.
It is essential to consider the length of your growing season when deciding when to plant potatoes. If you live in a colder climate, you may need to plant earlier to ensure that your potatoes have enough time to mature before the first frost. Conversely, if you live in a warmer climate, you might be able to plant later in the season.
Another factor to consider is the type of potato you are planting. Early varieties, such as Yukon Gold or Red Bliss, can be planted earlier in the season than later varieties, like Russets. Additionally, suppose you plan to harvest new potatoes. In that case, you can plant earlier in the season and harvest before the plants have fully matured.
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What Month Do You Plant Potatoes?
As someone who has grown potatoes for several years, I can say with confidence that the best time to plant potatoes is in the spring. The exact month will depend on your location and climate, but generally, you should aim to plant potatoes when the soil has warmed up to at least 45°F (7°C).
In most regions, this means planting potatoes in March or April. However, if you live in a colder climate, you may need to wait until May or even June to plant your potatoes. It’s important to remember that potatoes need warm soil to grow properly, so don’t rush to plant them too early in the season.
To ensure that you are planting your potatoes at the right time, it’s a good idea to check the soil temperature using a soil thermometer. You can also keep an eye on the weather forecast and wait for a stretch of warm, dry weather before planting your potatoes.
Here’s a table summarizing the best time to plant potatoes based on location and climate:
|Best Month to Plant Potatoes
|Northern US and Canada
|May – June
|March – April
|UK and Ireland
|March – April
|Australia and New Zealand
|September – October
Remember, planting potatoes at the right time is crucial for a successful harvest. By following these guidelines and monitoring your soil temperature, you can ensure that your potatoes have the best chance of thriving.
Planting Dates for Potatoes by Zone
As a gardener, I know that planting potatoes at the right time is crucial for a bountiful harvest. The planting dates for potatoes vary depending on your zone, which is determined by your location and climate. In the following table, I will provide you with the planting dates of potatoes by USDA hardiness zones.
|Recommended Planting Time for Seed Potatoes
|No recommended planting date (too cold)
|Zone 2a – 2b
|April – May
|Zone 3a – 3b
|April – May
|Zone 4a – 4b
|April – May
|Zone 5a – 5b
|March – April
|Zone 6a – 6b
|March – April
|Jan – March-August (Fall crop)
|Jan – March
|Zone 8a – 8b
|Jan – Feb – August (Fall crop)
|Zone 9a – 9b
|January – Feb – September-October (Fall)
|Zone 10a – 10b
|Jan – Feb – October-November
|Zone 11a – 11b
|Dec – February
|Zone 12a – 13b
|No recommended planting date (too warm)
Zone 2-4: If you live in zones 2-4, which are the coldest, you should plant potatoes in April or May. Planting too early can result in frost damage while planting too late can cause the potatoes to mature during the hot summer months. As the growing season is short, in these zones, it is necessary to prepare chitting potatoes 6 weeks prior to planting before the last frost.
Zone 5-6: If you live in zones 5-6, which have a moderate climate, you should plant potatoes in March or April. These zones have a longer growing season, so you can plant a little later than the colder zones.
Zone 7a: The lengthy growing season here allows for early plantings in late February, with possible second Fall crops in August of quicker non-storage potatoes. Sage Russet and Cranberry Red work beautifully.
Zone 7b: Plant cold hardy seed potatoes from mid-January to March for Zone 7b, spacing planting over several weeks. Avoid heat-susceptible mid and late-season varieties to ensure tuber growth wraps before hot summer temps arrive.
Zones 8a-8b: Mild winters make January and February the key planting window before consistent 80°F days arrive in early spring. Quick-growing white and red varieties thrive best in the heat. Some gardeners chance a second small crop in early Fall before frost.
Zones 9a-9b: Steady warmth means tuber growth happens year-round! Aim to plant from January through March to grow potatoes before the long, hot summer. Late September into November works for a second crop yield using heat-tolerant spuds.
Zones 10a-10b: Similar to Zone 9, Zone 10 does best with two plantings to avoid peak summer heat and humidity. Get potatoes in the ground in January to early March, then again in October and November.
Zones 11a-11b: Only a December through February crop is advised before tropical temps dominate. Ensure plenty of water and mulch to retain soil moisture levels potatoes need. Fast red varieties tend to bear better in heat than whites or russets. In these zones, the potato growing season is short due to the heat of the summer. It is recommended that gardeners prepare chitting potatoes in advance and plant sprouted potatoes.
Zones 12a-13b: From humid south Florida to the tropical islands, these zones prove too hot year-round for viable commercial potato yields. In-ground growing is not recommended in these extreme heat zones. However, gardeners can prepare chitted potatoes (sprouted) and grow them in containers or bags, which are easy to accommodate, or move to a semi-covered location and harvest early new potatoes.
Suppose you want to deeply understand how to select seed potatoes and chit them before planting. In that case, I highly recommend reading our gardening guide for beginners and experts.
It’s important to note that these dates are just guidelines, and you should always pay attention to your local weather forecast. If you experience an unusually warm or cold spring, you may need to adjust your planting dates accordingly. Determining the last frost date is crucial for planting potatoes, especially in colder climates, to avoid potential damage to the plants from freezing temperatures.
When to Plant Potatoes by States?
Potatoes are a staple crop grown across the United States, but depending on your location and climate, the best time to plant them can vary.
In Arkansas, plant potatoes from mid-February to early April. Read more about when to plant potatoes in Arkansas.
The USDA Hardiness Zones in Iowa span from 4 to 6, creating favorable conditions for potatoes. Read more about when to plant potatoes in Iowa.
In USDA plant hardiness zones 5-7, like Kansas, the climate supports potato cultivation, offering ideal conditions for planting and growing these versatile tubers. Read more about when to plant potatoes in Kansas.
In North Carolina, with hardiness zones spanning from 5b to 8b, the diverse climate accommodates successful potato cultivation, allowing for varied planting times and a range of potato varieties to thrive. Read more about when to plant potatoes in North Carolina.
Oklahomans should plant potatoes from April through May. Read more about when to plant potatoes in Oklahoma.
The majority of South Carolina falls within zone 8, split into subcategories a and b, with scattered areas in zones 7 and 9. This predominantly zone 8 climate offers favorable conditions for planting potatoes. Read more about when to plant potatoes in South Carolina.
In Texas, where various regions span across different hardiness zones, with the majority in zone 8 and some pockets in zones 7 and 9, planting potatoes benefits from the diverse climate, offering opportunities for cultivation in different zones and extended growing seasons. Read more about when to plant potatoes in Texas.
I encourage potato lovers to reference the article “Understanding the Growing Potatoes Stages” to deepen your knowledge on achieving excellent home-grown potato yields for visuals and tips on planting, hilling, and digging based on each plant’s life cycle stage.
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