Potatoes are a wonderful crop that can be grown by anyone. It is highly recommended that you grow potatoes for your own use, and if you grow enough, you could potentially sell them.
But how long does it take to grow potatoes from seed to harvest? The answer to this question depends on the common varieties there are and which ones you decide to grow.
Luckily, there is a wide range of varieties available as seed potatoes, and they can grow in many types of conditions.
In our guide, you can learn more about growing potatoes, and by the end, you’ll find out the important answer. How long does it take to grow potatoes, and when can you expect to harvest your own potatoes? (Learn How To Plant Seed Potatoes)
What Month Do You Plant Potatoes?
When you want to know how long does it take potatoes to grow, the time you plant them can affect growing potatoes.
Except for extreme weather, most gardeners plant their crops in March, April, or May before the last frost date and expect a harvest about four months later.
Gardeners dig new potatoes about two to three weeks after the plant’s flower. However, in milder winter climates, some areas can be planted in the fall as they can deal with a light frost.
It’s best to start by determining when the last expected freeze date will be. Potatoes grow best in cooler weather, which is ideal for growing them. Please make certain that you are in the right area because it means spring planting.
The earliest time to plant is 3-4 weeks before that date since homegrown potatoes will not be grown from potato seeds but seed potatoes. All it takes is to move seed potatoes to a brighter, warmer location, such as a window, one week before you plan to plant them. (Read About Growing Potatoes Indoors)
- Choose a location for your garden that receives full sun for 6-8 hours per day. You’ll need well-drained soil. One to two days before planting is recommended. Take your larger potatoes and cut them into smaller seed potatoes about 11/2 to 2 inches in diameter and have one or two eyes each. Seed potatoes need high humidity and soil temperatures between 50 and 65 F to heal properly.
- Smaller seed potatoes can be planted whole if they are smaller. Create a trench that is 4 inches wide and 6 to 8 inches deep.
- Space seed potatoes every 15 inches cut side down, on a flat surface in loose soil.
- Cover with 3 to 4 inches of soil, then add 3 inches more when sprouts appear after two weeks. Potatoes like the soil slightly acidic between 5.8-6.5 pH. You can add fertilizer or composted manure for best results.
Once your plant has flowered, you can harvest any potato size as the maturation time varies and thus dictates the size of your potatoes. Wait until the soil and temperatures have cooled before harvesting later in the season to store potatoes for the cooler months.
- Désirée: Pink-skin and large, yellow flesh, and tasty mashed or fried.
- Corne de Gatte: Pink skin and tasty hot or cold.
- New potatoes: Harvested early and great in salads
If there are any signs of Colorado potato beetles, these needs pulling off your plants before they come to flower.
Ten weeks before harvest, cut or pull vines, then dig up tubers. Allow a couple of hours of drying time on the soil’s surface. Potatoes should be stored in dark, humid areas, and damaged or rotten potatoes should be discarded.
Irish potatoes require cool weather that isn’t freezing or too hot to survive and produce edible tubers. Depending on variety and weather, the potato growing season lasts about three or four months, from planting to digging. You can, however, have immature or “new” potatoes harvested a little earlier.
Potatoes are planted from small pieces of mature tubers known as “seed” potatoes, with one or two buds. Besides cool weather, they require at least 7 or 8 hours of direct sunlight, very well-drained soil, and moderate fertilizer.
Most gardeners cut seed pieces two or three days ahead of time to allow cut surfaces to heal, reducing rotting when planted in cold, wet soils. The pieces can also be sprouted before planting, which is important in areas where the growing season is cold and short.
Plant as soon as the soil can be dug up in early spring; if the weather is typically rainy, plan by working up rows or hills in the fall. (Read Can You Eat Sprouted Potatoes)
Potatoes can be planted in freeze-free areas of the country, such as the Southwest and along the Gulf Coast, in the fall or winter; however, seed potatoes are often difficult to find, so they must be ordered and stored in advance.
When seed pieces are planted two or three inches deep and a foot or so apart in rows, hills, or even containers, they sprout quickly into lush, leafy, multi-stem plants. New tubers form on short stolons that grow downward into the ground as the plants grow.
Because potatoes exposed to sunlight turn green and taste bitter, it is important to pile soil or heavy layers of straw or other mulch around lower stems so that the tubers grow in complete darkness. This is typically repeated every week or two until the plants have buried at least six inches of the lower stem.
Healthy potato plants can withstand a light frost and possibly recover from minor freeze damage, but they cannot withstand hard freezes. For this reason, potatoes are planted in cool weather, and the chances of freezing have passed.
When you have loamy soil type, and soil temperatures are in the 60-70 F range, the whole process for tuber formation is at its peak, and it stops when soil temperatures reach 80 degrees. Top gardening tips are to mulch soil with straw or other organic matter that can help lower soil temperature by up to ten degrees. Besides this, it helps prevent greening of potatoes that could creep to the garden surface.
As a result, you must time your planting between hard freezes and hot temperatures. Depending on the weather, most gardeners plant in March, April, or May and expect to be harvesting four months later, digging standard shape new potatoes two to three weeks after the plant’s flower. However, in mild-winter areas, some can be planted in the fall.
How Long Does It Take for Potatoes to Grow After Planting?
Potatoes are generous plants. They are easy to grow and produce abundant harvests. Give them the following, and they will accept almost any planting situation:
Step 1: Selecting Seed Potatoes
Start by buying or ordering your organic, disease-free seed potatoes from a catalog or farm store. When you buy tubers from a farm store, it is advisable to search for ones that already have sprouts. If there are no sprouts, set them out on your kitchen counter to pre-sprout. Potatoes that have been pre-sprouted can be harvested a few weeks earlier than their non-sprouted counterparts.
Step 2: Distinguish the Eyes
Only small potatoes, around the size of a golf ball, should be planted whole. When you have large tubers, you should cut these tubers into pieces. Ensure you cut the pieces with two or three “eyes” on each segment. The eyes are the small bumps where sprouts emerge.
We cut these larger seed potatoes into smaller pieces because a larger potato with many eyes will produce a crowded, multi-stemmed plant. As a result, it would self-overcrowd, and your crop would comprise small potatoes in the ground.
Step 3: Cure the Cut Pieces
Cure the cut pieces next by placing them in the sun for three to five days or place them on a table or counter in a warm area at around 70°F, in a moderately lit environment. This step allows the cuts to harden into calluses. Seed potatoes that have been calloused will avoid decay once buried in your garden. (Learn When Are Potatoes Ready To Harvest)
Step 4: How to Plant Potatoes and When to Do So
In a 6-inch-deep hole or trench, plant seed potato segments cut-side down with the eyes facing up. On all sides, space each segment 12 inches apart. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of a low-nitrogen, high-phosphorous fertilizer between each segment, and cover both the potatoes and the fertilizer with two inches of soil and thoroughly moisten.
Step 5: Hill Around the Stems
The vines must be “hilled” because new potatoes form on lateral stems, or “stolons,” above the seed potato. When the green sprouts reach 8 inches in height, cover them with soil, chopped straw, or shredded leaves, apart from the top 4 inches.
When the potato plants grow an additional 8 inches in height after several weeks, hill them once more. Hilling potatoes leads to a more fruitful harvest. When you see vines flower, it’s time to stop hilling.
Step 6: How and When to Harvest Potatoes
If you reach into the soil or mulch two weeks after the vines bloom, you can recover a few baby potatoes. Otherwise, you’ll have to wait till the vines have died back. The tubers reach maturity when the vines die. With your hands, reach into the soil and pull the tubers up.
How long does it take for potatoes to grow? Small young potatoes can be harvested as early as 10 weeks after planting. Full-sized potatoes, on the other hand, require roughly 80-100 days to reach.
How Many Potatoes Will One Plant Produce?
- Early Varieties: Harvest at around ninety days, with varieties like Irish Cobbler and King Harry.
- Mid-Season Varieties: It takes longer to mature for harvesting at around one hundred days. Grow in warm climates to produce Yukon Gold and Red LaSoda.
- Late Varieties: Need the most time to harvest at around 110 days, but often longer.
- Elongated Fingerling Potatoes: Sell fast because of popularity.
The average garden won’t yield enough potatoes to stock up your root cellar for the winter. A single plant can produce a minimum of three or four pounds of potatoes.
A single seed potato can produce four or five plants.
How Do You Know When Potatoes are Ready to Harvest?
Varied potato crop types have different days to maturity, which determines when they are ready to harvest. Calculate the intended harvest dates when you grow potatoes for each potato variety by counting the days since planting potatoes.
You may always dig around the ground and see how things are progressing in your garden potato crop. By day 60, smaller potatoes should be seen; these new potatoes will be little and delicate.
By 90 days, most types will grow large tubers that are ready for harvesting. In the Southeast, summer temperatures are too high to grow good potatoes. It is not recommended to keep DTM varieties for over 120 days. To avoid skewering your potatoes, begin at the outer edges of your bed and then uncover by loosening the soil around the mound.
Allow potatoes to dry for about 30 minutes on the bed top before carefully collecting them into cartons or bins. At this phase, skins will be delicate and readily broken.
For storing potatoes, all your potato crop should be kept in a cool, dark area until ready to consume. To avoid potatoes from turning green, they must be stored in a light-free environment.
Green potatoes should not be eaten because they contain a toxin harmful to the central nervous system. Green potatoes should be thrown away. (Learn How to Grow Potatoes in Containers)
Once you harvest your potatoes, let the freshly dug garden potato crop sit in a dark place for around two weeks.