Growing food

When to Plant Potatoes in your State (All States Included)

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.

StatePostal CodeUSDA Hardiness ZoneWhen To Plant Potatoes
AlabamaAL7 to 9Early March
AlaskaAK1 to 8The first half of May
ArizonaAZ4 to 10Mid-April
ArkansasAR6 to 8Late March to early April
CaliforniaCA5 to 11Late March to early April
ColoradoCO3 to 7Mid-April
ConnecticutCT5 to 7Late March to early April
DelawareDE7Early March
FloridaFL8 to 11Early March
GeorgiaGA6 to 9Late March to early April
HawaiiHI9 to 13Late January
IdahoID3 to 7Mid-April
IllinoisIL5 to 7Late March to early April
IndianaIN5 to 6Late March to early April
IowaIA4 to 6Mid-April
KansasKS5 to 7Late March to early April
KentuckyKY6 to 7Late March to early April
LouisianaLA8 to 10Early March
MaineME3 to 6Mid-April
MarylandMD5 to 8Late March to early April
MassachusettsMA5 to 7Late March to early April
MichiganMI4 to 6Mid-April
MinnesotaMN3 to 5Mid-April
MississippiMS7 to 9Early March
MissouriMO5 to 7Late March to early April
MontanaMT3 to 6Mid-April
NebraskaNE4 to 5Mid-April
NevadaNV4 to 10Mid-April
New HampshireNH3 to 6Mid-April
New JerseyNJ6 to 7Late March to early April
New MexicoNM4 to 9Mid-April
New YorkNY3 to 7Mid-April
North CarolinaNC5 to 8Late March to early April
North DakotaND3 to 4Mid-April
OhioOH5 to 6Late March to early April
OklahomaOK6 to 8Late March to early April
OregonOR4 to 9Mid-April
PennsylvaniaPA5 to 7Late March to early April
Rhode IslandRI5 to 7Late March to early April
South CarolinaSC7 to 9Early March
South DakotaSD3 to 5Mid-April
TennesseeTN5 to 8Late March to early April
TexasTX6 to 10Late March to early April
UtahUT4 to 9Mid-April
VermontVT3 to 5Mid-April
VirginiaVA5 to 8Late March to early April
WashingtonWA4 to 9Mid-April
West VirginiaWV5 to 7Late March to early April
WisconsinWI3 to 5Mid-April
WyomingWY3 to 6Mid-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.

potatoes planting

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.

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