a field with freshly planted potato drills

When Should I Plant Potatoes: a helpful guide from planting to harvest

Are you thinking about growing potatoes in your garden but not sure when to plant them? The timing of planting potatoes can have a significant impact on the yield and quality of your crop. Knowing when to plant potatoes is essential to ensure a successful harvest.

The best time to plant potatoes depends on several factors, including your location, climate, and the type of potato you want to grow. In general, potatoes are planted in early spring, a few weeks before the last frost date in your area. This timing allows the potatoes to grow and mature before the hot summer weather arrives.

However, the exact planting time can vary depending on your location. Gardeners in warmer climates may need to plant earlier, while those in cooler areas may need to wait until later in the spring. Additionally, different types of potatoes may have different planting times, so it’s important to research the specific variety you plan to grow.

Understanding potato planting seasons

Potatoes are versatile and delicious vegetables that can be grown in many different climates. However, the timing of planting is crucial to the success of your crop. Here are some things to consider when deciding when to plant your potatoes.

Factors to consider

There are several factors to consider when deciding when to plant your potatoes. These include:

  • Climate: Potatoes grow best in cool weather, with soil temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If you live in a warm climate, you may need to adjust your planting times accordingly.
  • Variety: Different potato varieties have different planting times. Some varieties are better suited for early planting, while others do better when planted later in the season.
  • Soil Conditions: Potatoes need well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. If your soil is heavy or compacted, you may need to amend it before planting.

Planting times

The best time to plant potatoes is in the early spring, 2 to 4 weeks before the last frost date. This will give your potatoes enough time to grow and mature before the hot summer weather sets in. In general, you should aim to plant your potatoes when the soil temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

If you live in a warmer climate, you may need to plant your potatoes earlier in the season to avoid the hot summer weather. Conversely, if you live in a cooler climate, you may need to wait until later in the season to plant your potatoes.


Understanding the planting seasons for potatoes is crucial to the success of your crop. By considering factors such as climate, variety, and soil conditions, you can determine the best time to plant your potatoes and ensure a healthy harvest.

Factors to consider when planting potatoes

Planting potatoes can be a fun and rewarding experience, but there are some important factors to consider before you start. Here are some key factors to keep in mind:

Soil temperature

The soil temperature plays a crucial role in potato planting. According to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, garden potatoes can be planted 2 to 4 weeks before the average last frost date. The soil temperature should be at least 55°F during the day, and it’s important to avoid planting potatoes in soil that is too cold or wet. If the soil is too cold, the potatoes may not sprout, and if it’s too wet, they may rot.


Potatoes need consistent watering to grow properly. Potatoes prefer about 1-2 inches of water every week. It’s important to water them regularly and avoid letting the soil dry out completely, as this can lead to stunted growth and smaller yields. However, it’s also important not to over-water, as this can cause the potatoes to rot.

Planting time of year

The best time to plant potatoes depends on your location and climate. According to Gardening Know How, the ideal time to plant potatoes is when the soil temperature is between 45°F and 55°F. In most areas, this means planting in the spring, but in warmer climates, potatoes can also be planted in the fall. It’s important to avoid planting potatoes too early in the spring, as this can lead to frost damage.

Harvest time

The best time to harvest potatoes is when the weather is cool, according to University of Minnesota Extension. Wait until the foliage on the plants has died back before harvesting mature tubers. New potatoes can be dug up about seven to eight weeks after planting, but it’s important to leave some in the ground to mature fully.

By keeping these factors in mind, you can increase your chances of a successful potato harvest. Remember to choose a sunny location, prepare the soil properly, and plant your potatoes at the right time for your climate.

Preparing the soil for planting

Potatoes require well-drained soil with a pH level between 5.8 and 6.5. Before planting, it is important to ensure that the soil is properly prepared to provide the best-growing conditions for your potatoes.

Begin by testing the soil to determine its pH level. If the pH level is too low, add lime to raise it. If it is too high, add sulfur to lower it. Once the pH level is correct, it’s time to prepare the soil for planting.

Start by removing any weeds or debris from the planting area. This will help to prevent competition for nutrients and water. Next, loosen the soil to a depth of about 8-10 inches using a garden fork or tiller. This will help to improve soil aeration and drainage.

After loosening the soil, add organic matter such as compost or well-rotted manure to the planting area. This will help to improve soil structure and fertility. Spread a layer of the organic matter over the planting area and mix it into the soil to a depth of about 4-6 inches.

Finally, create rows for planting by using a hoe or rake to form ridges about 6-8 inches high and spaced about 2-3 feet apart. This will help to promote good drainage and prevent waterlogging.

By properly preparing the soil for planting, you can provide the best-growing conditions for your potatoes and ensure a bountiful harvest.

How to plant potatoes

Planting potatoes is a relatively easy process that can be done by anyone with a little bit of gardening experience. Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Prepare the soil: Potatoes grow best in loose, well-draining soil that is rich in organic matter. Before planting, remove any rocks or debris from the soil and add compost or well-rotted manure to improve soil fertility.
  2. Choose seed potatoes: Seed potatoes are small tubers that are specifically grown for planting. Choose seed potatoes that are firm and free from any signs of disease or rot. Cut larger seed potatoes into smaller pieces, making sure each piece has at least one “eye” or bud.
  3. Plant the seed potatoes: Dig a trench about 6 inches deep and place the seed potatoes in the trench, with the “eyes” facing up. Space the seed potatoes about 12 inches apart and cover them with soil.
  4. Hill the potatoes: As the potato plants grow, they will produce stems and leaves above ground and tubers below ground. To encourage the growth of more tubers, mound soil around the base of the plants to create a small hill. Repeat this process every few weeks as the plants continue to grow.
  5. Water and fertilize: Keep the soil evenly moist throughout the growing season, but be careful not to overwater as this can lead to rot. Fertilize the plants with a balanced fertilizer every 4-6 weeks to promote healthy growth.
  6. Harvest the potatoes: Potatoes are typically ready to harvest when the plants begin to die back and the foliage turns yellow. Carefully dig up the tubers with a garden fork or shovel, being careful not to damage them. Allow the potatoes to dry in a cool, dark place for a few days before storing.

By following these simple steps, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh, delicious potatoes in your own backyard.

Caring for potato plants

Once you have planted your potatoes, it’s important to care for them properly to ensure a healthy crop. Here are some tips:

  • Watering: Potato plants require consistent moisture, so make sure they receive at least one inch of water per week. Be careful not to overwater, as this can lead to rotting.
  • Fertilizing: Potatoes are heavy feeders, so it’s important to fertilize them regularly. Use a balanced fertilizer with equal amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Apply the fertilizer every three to four weeks.
  • Hilling: As the potato plants grow, they will produce new tubers along the stem. To encourage more tubers and prevent greening, hill up soil around the base of the plants. This will also help control weeds.
  • Pest and Disease Control: Potato plants are susceptible to a number of pests and diseases, including potato beetles, blight, and scab. Keep an eye out for any signs of damage or disease, and take action promptly if necessary. Consider using organic methods of pest and disease control, such as neem oil or diatomaceous earth.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure a healthy and abundant potato harvest. Remember to monitor your plants regularly and take action as needed to keep them healthy and strong.

Harvesting potatoes

Harvesting potatoes is an exciting time for gardeners, as it marks the end of the growing season and the start of a delicious harvest. Here are some tips for harvesting potatoes:

  • Wait until the potato plants have died back completely before harvesting. This ensures that the potatoes have reached their maximum size and are fully matured.
  • Use a garden fork or spade to gently dig up the potatoes. Be careful not to damage the potatoes or the surrounding soil.
  • Brush off any excess soil and let the potatoes dry in the sun for a few hours.
  • Store the potatoes in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. Do not store them in plastic bags, as this can cause them to rot.

It’s important to note that the harvesting time for potatoes can vary depending on the potato variety and the climate in your region. Early potatoes can be harvested as early as mid-June, while maincrop potatoes are usually ready for harvest in August or September.

When harvesting potatoes, it’s also important to be aware of common pests and diseases that can affect your harvest. Keep an eye out for potato beetles, which can quickly destroy your crop, and be sure to rotate your potato crop each year to avoid soil-borne diseases.

With these tips in mind, you’ll be able to harvest a bountiful crop of delicious potatoes that will be the envy of your neighbors!


After conducting thorough research, it is clear that the ideal time to plant potatoes in Zone 6 is between April and May. However, if your last frost falls within March, you can start growing them around Saint Patrick’s day.

It is important to note that potatoes prefer a sunny location, a long growing season, and fertile, well-drained soil for the best yields. Planting seed potatoes in the garden is recommended as they grow better than in containers, and proper watering and fertilization throughout their growth cycle is essential for a successful harvest.

It is also important to rotate potato crops every two years to prevent soil depletion and disease. By following these guidelines, you can ensure optimal growth and a bountiful harvest of delicious potatoes.