The easiest way to have potatoes over a long period of time if you have no place to store them is to
- plant early and late varieties and
- plant them over a period of 3 or 4 months. (March/April through the first of July)
This will allow you to start harvesting new potatoes in June (maybe even a bit before that). Late varieties planted late will finish up as late as October. Even with less than perfect storage conditions you could probably get through another month or so eating potatoes. Or — if your winters are relatively mild and you mulch with a foot of straw like I do, your potatoes will keep in the ground until you want to eat them.
An Example of how I plant:
- My first planting last year was in April 1st. (This year my first planting will be March 22nd) I planted some of each of the following varieties:
Chieftan – an early red skinned variety (55 to 70 days to maturity)
Kennebec – an excellent mid-season white potato) (70 to 90 days to maturity)
King Harry – late variety that is resistant to the Colorado Potato Beetle. (110-135 days to maturity)
- May 1st I planted again, using the mid-season Kennebec and two more late varieties that take 90 to 110 days to mature.
- I planted the few remaining potatoes the first part of July.
By the first part of June:
Kennebec and Chieftans had been blooming for about 2 weeks – signifying that they were making potatoes — I started taking new potatoes from them. By July I’d harvested about 150 or more “new” potatoes from the plants.
End of July
Vines on the early Chieftans are almost dead signifying the potatoes were mature.
The mid-season Kennebec vines were almost finished.
The late varieties were just blooming and still had lush growth.
All remaining potatoes matured.
I was still digging potatoes.
Possibilities for November thru winter:
Had I had more space to plant more potatoes I could have been harvesting potatoes from the garden through the winter.
If you love potatoes as much as we do, you’ll want to have them fresh from the garden as long as possible. Staggering your plantings of early, mid-season, and late varieties is an easy way to do that.
Growing Potatoes – It’s Hard to Mess Up
Potatoes – Harvesting and Storing
Organic Gardening is easy, efficient, effective and it’s a lot healthier.
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We love potatoes, so versatile. I never knew there could be such a long season – with planning – for potatoes. Definitely on the back burner for next year.
You’re right Sandra. It’s all in the planning. It can make a big difference in what you’re able to enjoy from the garden for a lot longer than most folks!
Loving your blog Theresa! Thanks for the wealth of information I am finding here.
I am located in Ohio and was wondering if weather conditions would affect the possibility of staggering potatoe plantings as you have described in this blog post. I really just thought it was too late as I did not plant on Good Friday!
Glad you are lovin’ TMG and finding lots of information.
I’m sure weather conditions can effect most anything we do in the garden.
We’re having a spring drought here and it’s definitely effecting how I do things. It is not however effecting my planting potatoes. My potatoes bed are heavily mulched and still have good moisture content. I plant to plant potatoes again about the 16th or the 20th of this month.
So — as you can see — it can depend on more than the weather. If your soil is as dry as the dessert sand, I think I’d hesitate. But if you have nicely mulched beds that have retained the moisture, I’d go for it.
One thing you know for sure — if you don’t plant — you won’t harvest. 🙂
Good Luck! Keep me posted on what you decide.
Hello Theresa! I’ve added another garden bed this year and would like to try potatoes for the first time. Where do you order yours from? I hope it isn’t too late. Also, how many potatoes can I expect per plant?
Heather, you might try Maine Potato Lady. I order from her because she has Kennebecs and Cheiftans — my favorites. It you like their varieties Wood Prairie Farm is great. Where you order — just make sure they are certified disease free seed potatoes..
Regarding how many you need — will depend on what you can use. You might want to start with a dozen or two dozen and see how you do. My last planting (this month) will be Kennebec.
Theresa – just got my order from the Maine Potato Lady. I went with a variety pack of Yukon Gold (early), King Harry (early), Carola (mid) and All Blue (late), one bag of each. How would you suggest I plant to stagger my harvest at this point? Or is it too late for that?
Also – do I need to wait to plant? They have all sprouted (some just starting, some about 1/4″ long sprouts). Do I need to wait for the sprouts to turn green?
Lastly, the instructions say not to plant where nightshades were last year, but I’ve already put in half my garden and most of the space left is where there were tomatoes and peppers last year.
This will be my first time planting potatoes and I am excited to see how they do!
Even though it’s late Heather — you took action and that’s excellent. You’ve got some problems to work with but it will be a learning experience and give you a jump on next time.
Sprouts on the potatoes are good. If it were March — I’d say let them get a bit longer, but you don’t need to wait for them to get any longer now. I’d suggest having them all planted by June 6 or 7th since were late into the season. At this date you can only stagger with days between plantings rather than months.
As you know from the instructions — it’s not good to plant nightshades in the same place where nightshades resided last year.
Since it’s the only space you have available — I would make sure the soil was high in organic matter — maybe add more compost to the soil than you normally would.
Mulch heavily. Mulch serves many purposes. We will probably start into hot dry weather and you’ll need to keep every bit of moisture in the soil for your potatoes to use. Also mulch will help deter the potatoes beetle.
Yukon Gold is a popular potato and really delicious! The others are interesting potatoes and I’ll be anxious to learn how you do with them. I’ve grown them before but they never produced heavily for me and perhaps did not like my conditions.
I’m desperate for space to plant my 3rd planting of potatoes this year. I’m going to literally plant at the end of a few rows in the paths and just cover heavily with straw. (My preferred method is in the bed – 6 inches deep — and heavily mulched.)
Good luck with these Heather. It will be exciting to see what happens. There’s nothing like fresh potatoes from the garden! Melt in your mouth delicious!
Good to know that potatoes can be planted over a period of 3-4 months. Having limited space, I plant them in pots and this would be wonderful for me to know I can extend the season and enjoy potatoes for a longer period.
Thanks for the tip.
When you plant in pots Aparna, you’ll want to keep an eye on them during months without rain and extreme temperatures. Don’t over do of course, but potatoes like adequate moisture to produce well – most especially when they are grown in containers.
Let me know how you do.