Potatoes are such a satisfying crop to grow in your home garden. There’s a certain amount of excitement that comes with digging around in the soil when it comes to harvesting your potatoes to see how many you can find.
When getting ready to plant your potatoes, you need to know the ideal planting time for your state so that your plants can get off to a good start. Here’s a complete guide to when you should plant your potatoes depending on which state you live in.
|State||Postal Code||USDA Hardiness Zone||When To Plant Potatoes|
|Alabama||AL||7 to 9||Early March|
|Alaska||AK||1 to 8||The first half of May|
|Arizona||AZ||4 to 10||Mid-April|
|Arkansas||AR||6 to 8||Late March to early April|
|California||CA||5 to 11||Late March to early April|
|Colorado||CO||3 to 7||Mid-April|
|Connecticut||CT||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Florida||FL||8 to 11||Early March|
|Georgia||GA||6 to 9||Late March to early April|
|Hawaii||HI||9 to 13||Late January|
|Idaho||ID||3 to 7||Mid-April|
|Illinois||IL||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Indiana||IN||5 to 6||Late March to early April|
|Iowa||IA||4 to 6||Mid-April|
|Kansas||KS||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Kentucky||KY||6 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Louisiana||LA||8 to 10||Early March|
|Maine||ME||3 to 6||Mid-April|
|Maryland||MD||5 to 8||Late March to early April|
|Massachusetts||MA||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Michigan||MI||4 to 6||Mid-April|
|Minnesota||MN||3 to 5||Mid-April|
|Mississippi||MS||7 to 9||Early March|
|Missouri||MO||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Montana||MT||3 to 6||Mid-April|
|Nebraska||NE||4 to 5||Mid-April|
|Nevada||NV||4 to 10||Mid-April|
|New Hampshire||NH||3 to 6||Mid-April|
|New Jersey||NJ||6 to 7||Late March to early April|
|New Mexico||NM||4 to 9||Mid-April|
|New York||NY||3 to 7||Mid-April|
|North Carolina||NC||5 to 8||Late March to early April|
|North Dakota||ND||3 to 4||Mid-April|
|Ohio||OH||5 to 6||Late March to early April|
|Oklahoma||OK||6 to 8||Late March to early April|
|Oregon||OR||4 to 9||Mid-April|
|Pennsylvania||PA||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Rhode Island||RI||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|South Carolina||SC||7 to 9||Early March|
|South Dakota||SD||3 to 5||Mid-April|
|Tennessee||TN||5 to 8||Late March to early April|
|Texas||TX||6 to 10||Late March to early April|
|Utah||UT||4 to 9||Mid-April|
|Vermont||VT||3 to 5||Mid-April|
|Virginia||VA||5 to 8||Late March to early April|
|Washington||WA||4 to 9||Mid-April|
|West Virginia||WV||5 to 7||Late March to early April|
|Wisconsin||WI||3 to 5||Mid-April|
|Wyoming||WY||3 to 6||Mid-April|
When to Plant Potatoes
As a general rule, potatoes can be planted around 2 to 3 weeks before the last expected frost date in your zone. You’ll find that in most states, the USDA planting zone will vary quite considerably, and this affects the last frost date.
Our recommended planting times above are based on the last expected frost dates for the coldest hardiness zone in each particular state. Therefore, if you live in Utah, for example, and your regional USDA hardiness zone is around 8 to 9, then look at the planting time for a state that has 8 or 9 as its coldest hardiness zone, such as Louisiana. This will allow you to plant a little earlier than what is recommended for the colder zones in Utah.
You also want to ensure that you allow enough time between the last frost date and the first frost date for the following season for your plants to mature. In general, potatoes will take around 90 to 120 days to reach maturity. This means that they’re ready to be harvested.
Here are some common tips for when to plant potatoes:
- Potatoes can be planted around 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost date for your USDA hardiness zone.
- The soil temperature should be above 45 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celsius).
- There should be no danger of a hard freeze for two weeks after planting has occurred.
- The ideal soil temperature for good tuber formation is around 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (16 to 21 degrees Celsius).
When to Plant Potatoes in other Countries
For gardeners who live in countries other than the US, here are some recommended planting times for potatoes:
- The United Kingdom. In the UK, there are three main varieties of potatoes, first earlies, second earlier, and maincrop. First earlies, sometimes called “new” potatoes, are harvested in June and July. These can be planted from mid-March.
Second earlies are harvested in July and August, and these can be planted from late March to early April. Lastly, maincrop potatoes are harvested from August to October. These can be planted in April.
It’s important to note that gardeners in the northern part of the country should delay their planting for a couple of weeks until the dangers of frost are over.
- Canada. Because the growing season in Canada can be quite short, potatoes should be planted around 4 weeks before the last expected frost date.
A common practice for potato growers both in Canada and the UK is to chit the potatoes before planting them. This involves placing the tubers in a sunny spot indoors and misting them once a week. This will result in sprouts forming on the tubers and will give the plants a head start. In Canada, you can start this process around 6 weeks before the last expected frost date.
- Australia. In the southern parts of the country, where frost is common, potatoes should be planted in early spring, just before the last expected frost date. However, in the northern parts of the country, potatoes are often planted from March to April (Australian autumn) as there is less humidity and the temperatures are not as hot. In saying that, it’s not uncommon for potatoes to continue growing throughout the winter, even in southern parts of the country.
How to Start/Plant Potatoes
The best way to start your potatoes is from seed potatoes that you’ve purchased from your local garden center. These potatoes are specially bred to be disease resistant and will produce a reliable crop.
It’s not recommended that you plant potatoes that you’ve purchased from the grocery store and that have sprouted, as these may introduce certain diseases into your soil. Additionally, many store-bought potatoes may have been treated with a chemical to stop them from sprouting.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to purchase fresh seed potatoes every year. Bear in mind, though, that once you’ve grown potatoes in a certain spot, they’re likely to keep coming up, as you will miss some tiny tubers when you harvest your potatoes.
It’s fine to let these grow as long as your soil doesn’t harbor any common potato diseases. However, you will find over time that their yield will be reduced unless you’ve worked the soil and added plenty of organic matter to it.
Planting potatoes is fairly easy and shouldn’t take you too much time. If you live in a fairly cold climate and your growing season is short, you might want to chit your potatoes first to give them a head start.
Here’s how to Plant your Potatoes:
- Make sure that the soil is nice and friable and has had some organic matter added to it. In saying that, potatoes will grow in a variety of soils and can even be used as a first crop to help break up heavy clay soils. However, if you do this, you will end up with lower yields and smaller potatoes.
- Create either a shallow trench or dig individual holes for your potatoes. The trench or holes should be around 8 inches (20 cm) deep. Put some compost in the bottom of the trench or the holes, cover with a thin layer of soil, and place your seed potatoes on top of this.
- Cover the potatoes with around 4 inches (10 cm) of soil.
- Place a layer of mulch over the top. Straw or hay is good for this, but you could also use leaf litter.
- As the plants start to grow, keep adding more soil or mulch, burying the lower part of the plant stem. This encourages roots to form on the buried stem and results in more potato tubers.
You can also grow your potatoes in half-filled grow bags and keep adding soil to the top as the plants continue to grow.