Potatoes are one of the easiest crops to grow. This low-maintenance vegetable grows almost anywhere and produces an abundant harvest. If you’ve decided to plant potatoes in your garden, you’re probably wondering how long potatoes take to grow.
Potatoes are typically fully grown and ready to harvest 75 to 110 days after planting. How long it takes to grow potatoes depends on the variety of potatoes you plant. Early potatoes grow in 75 and 90 days, mid-season varieties mature in about 100 days, and late varieties are ready in 110 days.
This article will share helpful tips about growing potatoes in a garden. Read on to learn when to harvest potatoes and how many potatoes one plant will produce.
How Do You Know when Potatoes are Ready to Harvest?
There are many different types of potatoes, but most are grown similarly. Knowing when to harvest potatoes depends on the kind of potato and the time you plant it.
The time it takes potato plants to grow and produce crops depends on whether the potato is an early, mid-season, or late-season variety. Early potatoes, also called new potatoes, grow faster and are ready to harvest much earlier than late varieties.
Depending on the type, early potatoes can be ready to harvest two months after they were planted. You can start harvesting early potatoes when they are the size of an egg or leave them an extra week or two in the ground to grow more.
In June, most early potato varieties produce white, purple, or pink flowers. Once flowers start to wilt or the unopened flower buds drop, the potatoes are ready to harvest. This usually happens eight to 12 weeks after planting, depending on the potato variety.
Late-season potatoes take the longest to grow and are ideal for storing during winter months. This is mainly because late-season potatoes last much longer after being harvested than other types of potatoes.
The right time to harvest late-season potato varieties is when the leaves on potato plants start to turn yellow. The leaves will wilt and dry, leaving only withered stems and a few dry leaves.
Cut the foliage an inch or two above the ground once the leaves start to die, or wait until the plant is completely dry and brown. After this point, wait another two weeks before harvesting the potatoes.
During these two weeks, the potatoes will develop a thicker skin that will help them last longer in storage.
How to Help Your Potatoes Grow
Potatoes are one of the most generous vegetables you can grow. They are easy to grow and abundantly productive.
Although you can grow potatoes in almost all conditions, they need full sun, loose, fertile soil, and 1” of water per week to thrive.
Potatoes are aggressively rooting plants that produce the best yields when planted in full sun. Plant potatoes in fertile, loose, and well-draining soil that will allow the tubers to grow.
Potatoes prefer slightly acidic soil with a pH of 5.0 to 7.0. But even if these conditions aren’t met, potatoes are an adaptable crop that almost always produces a respectable yield.
For the best results, keep the potatoes weed-free and grow them in 4’ by 8’ raised rows.
Only plant potatoes in the same spot in the garden when there has been a 3-to-4-year absence of potatoes. Crop rotation is one of the most effective preventative measures against plant diseases like blight and mosaic virus.
Tips About Growing Potatoes
Here are a few helpful tips on how to grow potatoes, regardless of the variety you choose to grow:
1. Get Certified Seed Potatoes
Choose certified disease-free seed potatoes from a catalog or farm store. Grocery store potatoes are usually treated with sprout-retardant and aren’t suitable for planting.
When buying certified seed potatoes from a farm store, choose tubers that have already sprouted. You can also pre-sprout potatoes at home by leaving them on the kitchen counter for a few days.
Harvest pre-sprouted potatoes a few weeks before the non-sprouted potatoes.
2. Fertilize Growing Potatoes
Fertilize the seed potatoes by sprinkling two tablespoons of low-nitrogen, high-phosphorus fertilizer when planting them in the ground. Start fertilizing potatoes two weeks after planting and apply the fertilizer every four months.
Stop fertilizing potatoes two weeks before the harvest.
3. Cover the Potatoes in Case of Bad Weather
Use an old blanket to protect the potatoes if the frost is coming. Covering the seedlings with a blanket protects them from frost and allows the stems to continue growing as soon as you remove the blanket.
How Many Potatoes will one Plant Produce?
One potato plant typically produces five to 10 potatoes. The exact number of potatoes produced by one plant depends on many factors, like the conditions the potato is grown in and the exact type of potato.
If the conditions are ideal and you’re caring for the plant properly, expect to get between 3 and 5 pounds of potatoes per plant.
To increase the number of potatoes produced by a single plant, form a hill around the potato vines. When the green sprouts reach 8 inches in height, cover the half in soil, shredded leaves, or chopped straw.
Cover the plant again when it grows another 8 inches. The more you hill the potato plant, the more generous the harvest is likely to be.
There are three main varieties of potatoes – early potatoes, mid-season potatoes, and late-season potatoes. How long potatoes grow depends on the variety of potatoes.
Early varieties have the shortest maturation time and are usually fully grown and ready to harvest in 75 to 90 days. Mid-season varieties need more time to grow and are ready to harvest in around 100 days. Late-season potatoes take the longest to grow and are fully mature in about 110 days.