When to Plant and Harvest Potatoes

I’ve had the worst luck growing potatoes in Texas and I couldn’t figure out why because they can produce in the worst soil. 

Then around Valentine’s Day a reader shared a neat gardening tip from an old farmer who planted his potatoes on February 14th.  So, I decided to listen and take her advice.

I braved the cold and planted my potatoes with curiosity wondering if this would really make a difference.  I planted in two areas around one of our vertical structures.

The plants grew beautifully and then the next question was when should I harvest because I also planted cucumbers to grow on that structure in April and things were getting cramped.

When to Harvest Potatoes

There were a couple things to consider before digging up those potatoes.  I was past the following guidelines so I started digging and let’s just say those cucumbers where happy to have the additional space so they could stretch and grow vertically.

  • First make sure the soil is dry because it will be much easier to sift through the dirt finding your treasure.
  • If the plants turn brown. begin to fall over and its been 10 weeks since you planted well then dig.

A Pretty Good Harvest

The harvest was pretty great for the amount of planting that was implemented in February.  I dug up a large bucket full of small and medium size potatoes and I think the first thing I’m going to make is potato salad.

Store potatoes in a dark,cool environment like a pantry would be fantastic.

A huge thank you for the tip because I will be planting next year once again on February 14th.

14 comments

  1. Rosemarie says:

    What a great idea! I planted potatoes last year for the first time…in 5 gallon buckets. They did OK so this year I planted them in one of my raised beds. They did better there. Still room for improvement though – they weren't as big as they could be, too few per plant, etc. But I'm learning. I'm going to try your idea next year – to increase my number of plants. (By the way, here in the Charleston, SC area, our window for planting potatoes is Feb 1-15.) Good job!

    1. Awesome! Thanks for sharing – I made potato salad last night and it was amazing! I will be doing this same thing next year but upping my planting because I never want to eat potatoes from the store again. -Carole

  2. Ann says:

    I would be interested in knowing what part of the country you are located. I always plant my potatoes on St. Patrick's day here in east Texas and I am beginning to think that is too late.

    1. I'm in North East Texas about an hour east of Dallas. I would agree to late – try the February 14, I am amazed and these potatoes taste amazing. In the past I always did March planting and my results we're always a bust. First I thought it was fire ants getting them but now I'm thinking I just planted to late then. Thanks for stopping by to share. Carole

    2. Ann says:

      I just figured out who and where you are! I am following you on Upcycled Marketplace. I am 15 miles south of Quitman. I am going to start my potatoes earlier next year. Thanks for the advice.

    3. That's neat and I can hardly wait to hear about your potato harvest next year. So Awesome! -Carole

  3. Sparkling says:

    I have always been mystified by anything that grows underground because I can't see when they are ready. The first time I had a potato plant grow, it was in my compost and i was amazed when I pulled up the plant to find little potatoes. I planted a couple one year in an old wheelbarrow that I keep in the greenhouse and every year, I think i've pulled them all out. Every spring, they pop back up and this year, I let the whole wheelbarrow fill with plants, so I'm curious what I'll have. Mine are always small but I much prefer that. I've branched out to growing some in a raised bed outside the greenhouse with much more space but little critters helped themselves to the seed potatoes, so I have about 3 plants. We'll see!

    1. I love volunteer plants from compost, because I direct compost I had some potatoes show up in some of my other raised beds. For me it's those little surprises that make gardening fun. Thanks so much for sharing I love to hear what others are doing. You're awesome! -Carole

  4. GREAT tip! We need to give this a try. Thanks for linking up at Wonderful Wed Blog Hop. Carrie, A Mother's Shadow

    1. Glad you liked it. Have to say fresh potatoes are the best. Have a Great Friday and thanks for stopping by to share. -Carole

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hi Carole, I tried growing potatoes last year in potato bins, I got quite a few small ones but not what I wanted. I really think I planted them too late. I read that you have lived in several planting zones and currently live in Texas. I live in central Pennsylvania and our last frost date is early May. Since I don't have knowledge on your climate, so what do think or recommend a planting time in my area?

    1. I grew up in Washington state so I'm guessing planting seasons are pretty similar. Remember that potatoes don't do well in temperatures above the 90's. they're a cool weather plant and can be planted when temperatures are as low as 45 degrees. They can handle a light frost but nothing severe. We always planted potatoes in the early spring and harvested in the middle of summer if I remember correctly. Rarely did it get warmer than 80 degrees prior to August. They also do best planted in rows. -Carole

  6. Charlene Dryman says:

    I sure do miss East Tx. We lived in Gladewater and farmed on Papa’s land on East Mountain. We grew so many potatoes back then. We had probably 3-50ft rows. We sold to stores and we put some out by the mail box and people put their money in the mailbox and took their sack of potatoes. How I miss those days. Now I live in Texas City. I do hate city living, but that is where we are. My husband made our back yard into a garden. I have chickens, rabbits, cats, and a dog, and over 500 sq ft of raised boxes. But, even with all the compost, the soil gets so hard:great for large crops, but bad for potatoes. From now on I am going to try to plant mine in buckets with potting soil. Maybe that will work. I am starting to get my cole crops in the grown and can’t wait for cabbage and cauliflower. Have a great fall season.

    1. Carole says:

      Hello Charlene, growing up on a farm must have been the best. We’ve been farming now for 7 years and honestly I can’t imagine living any other way. I LOVE it!! We have family down your way and I bet gardening down there can be a challenge. Check out my Dirt Simple tips especially Direct Compost that should help soften your soil. So far the fall has been really great I’ve got cabbage and broccoli and lots of lettuce growing like gangbusters. Fall garden is just so relaxing and sometimes I think we enjoy it more. Thanks for stopping by and sharing was nice to hear from you. 🙂

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