Ask a Question forum: too cold to plant potatoes?

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Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
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holity
Apr 3, 2014 7:19 PM CST
Ordinarily in my zone I should have planted potatoes already.

But with the winter we had, everything is really slow to start. Daffodils are barely poking out of the soil.

Should I wait a bit longer?
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Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
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dave
Apr 3, 2014 7:47 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

It was a similar situation for us down here. I planted the potatoes at the normal time but they never did come up for almost a month. Then when the weather finally warmed up enough, and I had nearly given up on the potatoes, boom, up they all came! It looks like you were scheduled to plant them maybe a couple weeks ago so planting them now is not "too late" in my opinion.
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
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holity
Apr 3, 2014 7:55 PM CST
Thank you! Actually I feel like I need to wait another week or so...
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Dave Whitinger
Jacksonville, Texas (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Region: Texas Master Gardener: Texas Permaculture Raises cows I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database!
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dave
Apr 3, 2014 8:00 PM CST

Garden.org Admin

I shouldn't be giving advice to someone so far north! Smiling
Name: Ken Ramsey
Starkville, MS (Zone 8a)
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drdawg
Apr 3, 2014 8:21 PM CST
I can't either, being in 8b. I planted my Irish potatoes three weeks ago and they are coming up. I planted my sweet potatoes yesterday, and since I have already started them in the greenhouse, they look great. I think our cold weather (anything close to freezing) is done, so I think they are fine. You may still have some winter weather in your area though.
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Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Composter Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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holity
Apr 3, 2014 8:27 PM CST
nodding dave Smiling

At least the "S" word is no longer in tomorrow's forecast!
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Name: Horseshoe Griffin
Efland, NC (Zone 7a)
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Horseshoe
Apr 3, 2014 8:38 PM CST
"Daffodils are barely poking out of the soil."

That alone might be a clue it is too early to set out potatoes. I also wonder why zone 5 would be planting potatoes several weeks earlier than daffs emerging...it seems way too cold to me.

By the way, look for dandelions flowering in your area. That will let you know the ground temps are ready for tater planting! It's a given around here.

I've planted potatoes early and they'll just sit there in cold soil, doing nothing at best. The worst case scenario is they'll rot in the cold damp soil and you'll have to replant (and re-invest.) I agree with you, I'd wait a while longer. After all, there is plenty of warmer weather on its way!

Shoe (tater freak)
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Composter Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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holity
Apr 3, 2014 9:00 PM CST
Dandelions flowering! That's easy to remember! Thank You! Hurray!
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Joannabanana
Apr 3, 2014 9:20 PM CST
Some years I have planted potatoes as late as the 1st weekend in June and had great success. Although, we have much longer days during the summer and that makes a huge difference.
Name: Jeanne
Lansing, Iowa (Zone 5a)
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gardenglassgems
Apr 8, 2014 12:54 AM CST
Hi Terri,
I am not far from you. I just picked up a bag of seed potatoes but don't plan on putting them in the ground until Good Friday, I am sure that the ground is still too cold.
Good luck.
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Name: Rick R.
near Minneapolis, MN zone 4a
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Leftwood
Apr 8, 2014 7:38 AM CST
A couple things worth mentioning:

1. Just because potatoes can be planted early, doesn't mean they have to be. As Joannabanana says, planting much later is just fine, as long as you don't use a long season variety.

2. If you live in an area that experienced deeper than usual snow all winter this season as I do, my soil thawed before the snow melted, despite the extremely long, very cold air temperatures. Most years, the ground is still frozen as the snow melts. My snowdrops and corydalis solida, are coming up at normal times this year. This, even though the snow melt is much later this year. So I am planting cold tolerant crops no later than other years.
Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Composter Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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holity
Apr 8, 2014 8:02 PM CST
thanks everyone!
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: cheshirekat
New Mexico, USA Zone 8 (Zone 8a)
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ckatNM
Apr 11, 2014 8:04 PM CST
I would love to grow potatoes. Especially sweet potatoes. The last frost date is Apr 16 here but local nurseries don't seem to have much available. Well, I stopped looking when I saw the prices. Back in Denver, CO, I would have been hoarding seeds and plants since early March. And plenty of starts getting hardened during April.

I spent an entire day running around hunting for sweet potato slips and came up empty with the money practically burning a hole in my pocket. It seems odd to be in a warmer zone and have so few choices for buying locally. The first time I grew sweet potatoes, I was over the moon with my first harvest. It wasn't a huge harvest, just testing, but now that I'm able to garden again, I hope to find some slips next week when I will have money again and hope it isn't too late to order online. Knowing I will have more days in the growing season has me salivating with envy for those that are already planting their potatoes.
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Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Composter Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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holity
Apr 12, 2014 8:12 AM CST
Well, I went ahead and planted today. We are supposed to get some nice rains for the next few days. But mainly, I'm planting my potatoes in a raised bed, so it's warmer than the ground. (was forgetting about that!)
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Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
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tveguy3
Apr 12, 2014 9:58 AM CST
Terri, I used to always plant potatoes around Good Friday as then I could harvest some around the 4th of July. However, I have now learned that if I wait until June 1, I miss the whole potato bug problem, and I still get a good crop of potatoes. I live North of you! It seems that by planting them later you don't have to deal with them at all. No chemicals needed. I ususally plant Red Pontiac and Yukon Golds.
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Name: Terri Hamilton
Rockford, Illinois (Zone 5b)
Butterflies Organic Gardener Composter Cat Lover Garden Ideas: Level 1
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holity
Apr 12, 2014 10:28 AM CST
Thank You! Interesting! I'll have to keep an eye on them and make a note of how they do.
My blog, which occasionally talks about gardening: http://holity.blogspot.com/
Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
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Joannabanana
Apr 12, 2014 12:25 PM CST
One of my fave varieties is Warba. They have a creamy taste.

This is one of the best seed potato suppliers in Alberta. They have an excellent web site with great info & pictures of the different varieties
http://www.seedpotatoes.ca/
[Last edited by Joannabanana - Apr 12, 2014 12:29 PM (+)]
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