How Long Do Potatoes Take to Grow: What You Need to Know?
Potatoes are one of the easiest plants to grow, so long as you plant them in the temperature and environment, they prefer. Gardener typically wonders how long do potatoes take to grow. Everyone wants to have freshly harvested potatoes. The harvesting itself is fun and an activity perfect for kids.
Growing potatoes takes some work. You have to get the seed potatoes ready, hilled the area, cultivated and fertilized the ground. Over time, your potato plants blossom and are healthy. Now it is time to get ready to harvest the potatoes. Let’s take a look at what you should know about how long do potatoes take to grow.
Make Sure You Planted Correctly
Rows of seed potatoes planted
If you want your potatoes to mature as they should, you need to make sure you plant them at the right time. The best time to plant potatoes is two weeks before your final frost date. Until that time, store the seed potatoes in your fridge, then bring them out a week before planting. Doing so takes them out of dormancy and prepares them for planting.
- If you live in an area with short springs and hot summers, you need to pick early and mid-season varieties, planting them three to four weeks before the final frost.
- If you live in an area with long springs and hot summers, pick early and mid-season plants, planting three to four weeks before the final frost. You can plant late varieties in early summer, allowing them to mature in the fall.
- In areas with cool summers, plant all varieties two to three weeks before final frost.
Early, Mid-Season and Late Varieties
One of the major factors in determining how long do potatoes take to grow. Potatoes will vary in size, shape, and maturity time based on their type. Let’s take a look!
- Early Varieties are ready to harvest in less than 90 days. These are great for any garden! Some popular choices include Irish Cobbler, Caribe, Red Norland and King Harry.
- Mid-Season Varieties tend to take around 100 days or more to mature. Yukon Gold, one of the most popular choices, falls into this variety, as well as Red LaSoda. If you live in a warmer climate, mid-season potatoes will give you a large yield.
- Late Varieties take at least 110 days or more to grow and mature. However, in exchange for the time, it takes to grow, you will get a larger yield from late varieties. These potatoes are ideal for storage. Some popular choices include Butte, Katahdin, and Kennebec.
- Elongated Fingerling Potatoes are a great choice if you sell at a farmer’s market. You can buy them in a large range of size and color. It is important to know they aren’t early varieties, but you can encourage faster growth by pre-sprouting the seed potatoes before planting.
How Many Potatoes Per Plant
Mound of sprouted seed potatoes
You might wonder how many potatoes per plant you should anticipate harvesting. The number of potatoes grown will differ among varieties. Early, mid-season and late potatoes all produce different quantities of potatoes. The yield will also differ based on your growing season. However, on average, you can expect to yield five to ten potatoes per plant.
If you keep the area weed free and ensure all of their needs are met, you can safely assume you will grow 50 pounds of potatoes for every two pounds of potato seed planted. Each plant will grow three to six regular sized potatoes and several smaller ones.
When to Harvest Potatoes?
Hand putting in sprouted seed potato
If you plan to store the potatoes for winter, you can allow the plant and weather decide when it is best to harvest. The tops of the vines will start to die, indicating that it is time to harvest the plant. Why should you wait? Waiting for the tops to die allows the tubers to store as much starch into the potatoes, creating a very flavorful vegetable.
There are other factors to help you to decide to harvest your potatoes.
- Air and soil temperature ended up being a huge factor as to when you should dig up the potatoes. You need to get potatoes out before you have a hard frost. While potatoes can handle light frosts, a hard frost can kill the plants. As for the soil temperature, it needs to be above 45 degrees F. So, if it doesn’t frost but you are wondering if it is time to harvest, check the soil temperature!
- If you want to harvest on an as-needed basis, you can dig them up later in the season and take as much as you need. Afterward, reset the plant, giving time for smaller tubers to develop and mature.
How to Harvest Potatoes
Harvesting potato plants
Harvesting potatoes is a fun job! If you have children in the house, this job is perfect for them. You need a shovel or a spading fork, but kids can dig them up with their hands.
If you are simply harvesting as you need, the spading fork is a beneficial tool. You light the plant from the outside edges with the fork. Then, remove what you need and put the plant back in place!
Before digging up your potatoes, test one of your hills. You want to ensure all of the potatoes are mature with thick and firmly attached skins. The skins shouldn’t rub off easily. If they do, the potatoes need some more time on the ground.
If they’re ready, it Is time to start digging! With the use of a shovel, you can get all of the hills pulled apart. Then, you can easily pull the tubers out. Make sure that you store your potatoes at around 40 degrees F, in a dark area. If your harvested potatoes are exposed to too much light, they will turn green.
Learning how long do potatoes take to grow requires you to pick the right variety and planting them correctly. In 90 to 110 days, you should have a large yield of potatoes for the winter storage!
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