Knowing how long it takes to grow potatoes ensures you harvest the potatoes at the perfect time when the potatoes have fully grown and are most delicious. After all, potatoes are one of the most versatile ingredients, growing your own is a must!
Early varieties are generally ready for harvest after 90 days, but late varieties might take upwards of 110 days. Potatoes are root vegetables that are easy to plant, and they grow abundantly. There are over one hundred varieties of potatoes, with different shapes, sizes, colors, and also growth times.
Keep reading to know how long different kinds of potatoes take to grow and how to give your growing potatoes the best conditions.
How Long To Grow Potatoes Before Harvesting?
The average time to grow potatoes before harvesting is two to four months; this time period is based on a wide variety of potatoes. The specific growth period for your potatoes heavily depends on the type of potato you are growing.
When you are growing potatoes, the maturation time is an extremely important variable. Different potato varieties have their own Days To Maturity (DTM). It is recommended that you know what your specific potato type’s DTM is so you can be best prepared. The DTM begins from the day you plant the potatoes.
The varieties of potatoes can be placed into three categories: early varieties, mid-season varieties, and late varieties. See below for the average growth time range for each of the three varieties.
|Early varieties||These varieties of potatoes take less than 90 days to mature. These potatoes are a good fit for almost any garden.||Irish Cobbler, Mountain Rose, Norland, Caribe, King Harry|
|Mid-season varieties||These varieties of potatoes take around 100 days to mature.||Viking, Red Pontiac, Yukon Gold, Red LaSoda|
|Late varieties||These varieties of potatoes take 110 or more days to mature. The potatoes in this category tend to grow heavy tubers, which store excellently.||Elba, Kennebec, Butte|
Moreover, the new potatoes are ready to be harvested in 60 days or ten weeks. “New potatoes” are the potatoes that are harvested earlier than usual to have smaller-sized and more tender potatoes.
If you’re having trouble finding the variety you want locally, Johnny’s Selected Seeds is a great online source for acquiring quality seed potatoes.
Other Factors That Affect Potato Growth Periods
Now we know that planted potatoes need the following to reach their best growth potential.
- Plenty of sunlight
- Loose, fertile soil
- An inch of water weekly
Other factors also play a role in how long it takes for you to grow your potatoes:
|Where you are planting your potatoes||Potatoes can be planted and grown in pots, containers, or even potato-specific “grow bags”; all of these need more attention and care and produce smaller yields. A raised bed in the garden is easier and more efficient for growing a large harvest of potatoes.|
|Where you buy your seed potatoes||The seed potatoes are cut-up pieces of whole potato tubers that have sprouted and potatoes that can sprout. You must buy your seed potatoes from a farm store or a catalog, as those can be planted and grown. The potatoes in grocery stores are usually treated to not grow sprouts. Ensure you have healthy seed potatoes to begin with.|
|What kind of tubers you choose to plant||You can work with tubers that have sprouted on them already. You can also pre-sprout the potato yourself by placing them on your kitchen counters and wait for them to sprout. The pre-sprouted potatoes take less time to harvest than non-sprouted potatoes.|
|Positioning of seed potatoes in the soil||You must plant the seed potatoes eight to nine inches deep under fertile soil. Each potato piece should be at least 12 inches apart from each other from all sides. These measurements are important as it affects how fast and efficient the potatoes are in taking in nutrients and growing in time.|
|Fertilizer||The amount and quality of fertilizer you use can also affect the potatoes’ harvest time. Which fertilizer to use depends on your potato variety type.|
How Late Can You Plant Potatoes?
Generally, you can plant potatoes early in the gardening season. You can plant them as early as you see that the frost is out of the soil. Frost’s action is where the soil water is frozen or thawed; either of these is not good for growing potatoes. If you don’t want any risk with the soil frost, however, you can plant your potatoes one or two weeks after the last spring frost.
You might want to plant potatoes later to avoid any soil frost, or maybe you want to plant potatoes later on for your own personal reasons. Whichever the reason, it is good to know how late you can plant your potatoes.
There is no “one rule” for how late you can plant your potatoes because it depends on multiple factors:
|Ideal weather temperature||Potatoes grow best when the weather temperature is around 45°F (or 7 to 8 °C). Cooler weather is preferable for potatoes.|
|Ideal soil temperature||The best soil temperature is 60°F to 70°F (or 16°C to 21°C). The minimum soil temperature to grow potatoes in is 50°F (or 10°C).|
|Ideal soil quality||You want soil that is loose and crumbly, but not dried out. Soil that is too dry will not deliver water and nutrients properly to the planted potatoes. Soil that is too wet becomes sticky and is difficult to work with. Additionally, too much moisture will rot your planted potatoes.|
|Days to Maturity (DTM)||You must know your potato type’s DTM. You can figure out how long the ideal weather and temperatures will last and compare that with the DTM. The lower the DTM is, the later you can plant your potatoes. The higher the DTM is, the earlier you must plant your potatoes.|
|Water||The general rule of thumb for growing potatoes is giving them an inch of water weekly. Be aware of heavy rain seasons. You want to plant and harvest before too much water reaches your potatoes.|
Overall, the soil’s condition, not necessarily the date and time, is in charge of the potato’s optimal growth and harvest time. You need to figure out how the season and the daily weather will affect the soil’s quality and determine how late you can plant your potatoes while keeping the DTM in mind.
Keep in mind that if the weather gets too hot, the potatoes will not be in the best condition when it is harvest time. This is why it is better to avoid planting too late; the potatoes will begin to grow nicely, but as the summer heat and humidity rises, the affected soil will ruin your potato harvest.
Here is a very general potato planting month schedule based on the area where you live:
|Northern regions||Potatoes can usually be planted in early April and mid-April.|
|Center regions||Potatoes can usually be planted in winter, from September to February.|
|Southern regions||Potatoes can usually be planted in January and February.|
Overall, it can take from less than 60 days to more than 100 days. Furthermore, loose and crumbly soil in a cooler temperature is what potatoes love to grow in.
Now you should know how long it takes to grow potatoes before their harvest time. There is no one size fits all answer. This is because there are plenty of different kinds of potatoes, each with its growth period. Furthermore, many other factors affect the growth and harvest period too.