How Late Can You Plant Potatoes? (5+ Tips)

how late can you plant potatoes with rake

If you’re looking to plant potatoes in your vegetable garden this year, you want to get your potatoes in the ground as soon as possible. But sometimes life gets in the way and you can’t plant them until later than you’d like. With potatoes being the most popular root vegetable around, it’s no wonder gardeners are looking for ways to extend the growing season and grow more potatoes for their families. But, then the question comes up, how late can you plant potatoes?

The answer to that question is, it depends.

There are different factors to take into consideration before you decide if it’s too late to plant your potato crop.

Ideal Potato Planting

Ideal potato planting takes place after the last Spring frost, when the ground becomes workable. If you have a soil thermometer, you can check the soil temperature and when it is a steady 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s safe to plant your potatoes.

Potatoes prefer 60-70 degrees Fahrenheit for ideal growing and need to be planted in an area where they will receive full sun.

In most areas, the best time to plant potatoes is in the early spring. In most regions this is March, April or May.

Potatoes can withstand a light frost, but not hard frosts or freezing temperatures. Take note of your last frost date so you can plan your potato gardening with success.

In most parts of the country, potatoes can be planted until the end of June.

The exact date that you can start planting potatoes will vary depending on your location, so be sure to check with your local experts to determine planting dates and cut-offs.

how late can you plant potatoes wheelbarrow and shovel

Late Potato Planting- Second Crop Potatoes

If you missed the window of opportunity for potato planting or just want to plant some later in the season, don’t worry – you can still do it!

The good news is that you can still plant potatoes quite late in the season, as long as you take some extra precautions. Growing potatoes in the summer actually has a name— second crop potatoes.

You can plant your second crop of potatoes anytime between late spring and early fall. Just make sure to choose a date when the temperature is consistently above 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and make sure your growing season won’t hit any freezing weather.

You can, however, heavily mulch your potato garden with straw, leaves, or wood chips to keep the soil from freezing. Then your potatoes will continue to grow and you can harvest them even in the winter. This protocol really depends on where you live and how low the temperatures get.

how late can you plant potatoes plants large

Best Potato Varieties for Late Planting

One of the benefits of late potato planting is that you can plant a wider variety of potatoes. In fact, there are many types of potatoes that are specifically designed for late planting.

These include:

– Fingerlings: these small potatoes are perfect for late planting, and they taste great too!

– Yukon Golds: a popular late-planted potato, Yukon Golds are great for making mashed potatoes.

– Reds: another favorite late-planted variety, red potatoes are perfect for roasting or boiling.

Early potatoes (or new potatoes) are also a great choice for late planting because they are “early to crop”, meaning that they take less time between planting and harvesting. These will have thin potato skin and can be cooked and eaten with the peel on.

Best early potato varieties:

➤ Red Duke of York
➤ Lady Christi
➤ Orla
➤ Rocket

If you’re looking for a specific type of potato to plant late, consult one of your local garden centers or agricultural extension office. They will be able to tell you which types of potatoes do well in your area and can point you in the direction of where to get seed pieces, if you don’t already have your own.

Late Potato Planting Guidelines for Fall Crop

Here are some guidelines on how late you can plant potatoes in different parts of the country:

Northern states – Late May to early June

Midwestern states – Early June to mid-June

Southern states – Early June to late June

West Coast states – Early July to late July

In general, potatoes have a long growing season and need 100-120 days before you can harvest them, so keep that in mind when planting them in late summer. You don’t want to end up with a wasted crop because of freezing weather.

Early summer planting will give you the best results if you live some place with a cold climate early in the Fall.

If you face freezing weather before your potatoes have been harvested, you will need to protect your plants so they survive.

how late can you plant potatoes

Growing Potatoes in Hot Weather

Potatoes HATE hot weather, but LOVE cool weather

If you grow your potatoes when it’s too hot, you run the risk of having discolored potatoes at harvest time.

Most of the time, potatoes won’t grow in temperatures above 86 degrees Farenheit. If you plant potatoes in hot weather, you also run the risk of fungal disease that will take over your plants and kill them.

Temperatures between 60 and 70 degrees Farenheit will allow potatoes to thrive.

Here are a couple of ways you can get away with planting potatoes in the heat:

Container Planting:

One of the best ways to grow potatoes in hot weather is to plant them in a container. Containers can be placed in direct sunlight, which will help keep the soil warm and promote growth. If you are using a container, make sure that it has drainage holes so that the potatoes can “breath” and avoid rot.

You can learn how to grow potatoes indoors HERE.

Greenhouse Growing:

Another great way to grow potatoes in hot weather is by using a greenhouse. Greenhouses can be purchased or built inexpensively, and they will help keep the temperature around your potato plants consistent.

You can use a fan to keep the temperature consistent in the hot months, or a greenhouse heater for the cold months.

Make sure that you place your greenhouse in an area that gets plenty of sunlight so that your plants can thrive!

Proper Watering in Hot Weather

No matter how you choose to grow your potatoes in hot weather, make sure to water them regularly. Potatoes need at least an inch of water per week to stay healthy. You can tell if your potatoes are getting enough water by checking the soil moisture levels; if the soil is wet, then they don’t need any more water.

how late can you plant potatoes watering the garden

Benefits of Late Potato Planting

One benefit of late potato planting is that you can harvest later in the season. Many people find that their late-planted potatoes taste better than those planted in the spring. Weird, right?

Late potato planting will also mean you will have a harvest of new, or early potatoes. These are smaller and have less of a peel, so it’s a win-win.

Final Thoughts on Late Potato Planting

Potatoes are a great crop to plant late in the season, so don’t worry if you missed the window for planting them in the spring. Summer planting tends to work well in most climates. Just take note of your frost dates so you know when you should plant your potato crop.

With a little bit of luck and some careful planning, you can still have a successful potato crop this year!

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