When To Plant Potatoes In Western Washington
Potatoes are a hearty and easy-to-grow crop and can be raised in large garden spaces or in containers. Potatoes like cool weather. In fact, they’ll sprout in temperatures as low as 40 degrees F! In Western Washington, the best time to plant potatoes is between mid-February and late March. Before you buy seed potatoes from a nursery or start your own from those you find at the grocery store, there are a few things to keep in mind about when and where to plant them:
Plant seed potatoes three to four weeks before the last frost in your area.
Planting potatoes in the spring, fall, summer and winter is possible. However, there are some advantages to each season that you should keep in mind when planting. If you want to grow early potatoes (greens), then planting them earlier is best because they get harvested before the main crop matures and starts generating heat from its vines which can cause them to turn green or bitter tasting if left on the vine too long. This means spring is usually the preferred time of year for growing greens. Fall planting is also good as it gives your plants time to store up nutrients that will be used once winter hits; however this may delay potato maturity until late spring/early summer depending on how long it takes for soil temperatures to warm up enough for growth after being outdoors during freezing temperatures have killed off most weeds and pests over winter months like we just experienced here in Western Washington State recently (December 2018).
Potatoes prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil, so add some lime to your garden prior to planting.
You’ll also want to make sure that your soil is neither too acidic nor too alkaline, which can be established by using a pH test. Potatoes prefer a neutral to slightly acidic soil, so add some lime to your garden prior to planting.
When planting potatoes in Western Washington, be sure that you pick up seed potatoes rather than tubers from the grocery store. While both are perfectly edible, the seed potatoes have been specially bred for disease resistance and yield. The tubers found in most supermarkets are often treated with chemicals that may negatively affect their taste or health properties—and they’re more expensive!
Potatoes like cool soil, and they’ll sprout even in cold weather.
Potatoes like cool and moist soil, especially when they’re sprouting. The soil should be at least 60 degrees F when you plant potatoes—and even colder if possible. If you can’t find a spot for the potato patch in your yard that’s that cool, wrap the whole thing up with black plastic sheeting or tarps to keep out heat from above and sun from all sides. If you do this right, even though it may be 90 degrees outside, you’ll have enough insulation to keep your potatoes happy!
A great tip: Potatoes will grow in either full sun or shade—it’s just important that they get plenty of water through their root system (which is why we recommend planting them around trees). So if there are some big trees near where you want to put your potato plants down? That’s fine! Their roots will also help keep moisture in the soil during dry spells; plus they’ll provide shelter from wind too—which helps prevent disease and frost damage later on down the line when springtime rolls around again
Plant potato sets (pieces of seed potatoes) 6 inches deep, if you have rich soil that holds water well.
Soil and Grower Requirements
Potatoes are a root crop, so they need to be planted deep enough to grow roots. For this reason, you should use a container that has at least 6 inches of soil in it. If your soil is very sandy or rocky, adding compost will help give your potato plants the nutrients they need to grow well. Potato plants thrive in full sun but can tolerate partial shade if necessary. If you have rich, fertile soil that holds water well, plant your potatoes 6 inches deep; otherwise plant them 3 inches below the surface of the ground.
Plant them 4 inches deep if your soil is sandy or drains poorly.
Potatoes should be planted deeply in sandy soil, which drains poorly and is often less productive than clay soil. Sandy soil also has a higher pH level and can cause the potato tubers to soften and rot more quickly than they would in a lower-pH soil. If you have sandy or loose soil conditions, plant your potatoes at least 4 inches deep to allow for adequate water drainage throughout the growing season.
If you live on a farm with heavy topsoil that’s been tilled regularly, it may take up to 8 weeks for your potato seed pieces to sprout through several inches of topsoil and reach the moisture level necessary for germination. If this happens, either grow the seedlings indoors until they’re ready for transplanting outside or choose another type of early-season crop that won’t need as much time before it can be harvested (such as radishes).
Space sets 1 foot apart within rows; set rows 3 feet apart.
Potato plants should be spaced 1 foot apart within rows, and rows should be 3 feet apart. This is the standard spacing for potatoes, though you can plant them closer together or farther apart if you like. You can also grow potatoes in raised beds to save space and effort if your soil isn’t naturally very good at retaining water.
Pat down the soil, as you plant each set, with the back of a rake or hoe to ensure good contact between the seed and the soil moisture.
Before you plant your seed potatoes, make sure that the soil is well watered and soft. If you’ve purchased certified seed potatoes at a garden store, they’re usually pre-sprouted so they’ll germinate faster. If you buy them in bulk from a farmers market or farm stand, they may not be sprouted and can take longer to grow into mature plants.
Once you’ve dug the holes for your potatoes, pat down the soil with a rake or hoe to ensure good contact between the seeds and moisture. Since potato seeds are very small (6 mm), it’s important that there isn’t any air pockets around them because this will inhibit their growth. Furthermore, if you have poor drainage in your soil where your planting area is located then it might be necessary for some additional preparation before planting time arrives:
- Add peat moss or composted manure over top of existing topsoil which will help improve aeration while also adding nutrients required by both root systems as well as leafy growth above ground level.*
Sprinkle 1 pound of 10-10-10 fertilizer around each hill of plants when the plants are 4 inches tall.
Fertilize your potato plants with 10-10-10 fertilizer once they are 4 inches tall. Sprinkle 1 pound of fertilizer around each hill and work it into the soil with a hoe. If you have too much fertilizer, remove some before planting; if not enough, add more later on in the season.
Plant potatoes about 3 weeks before last frost date.
You can plant potatoes in the fall, spring and winter. If you live in a mild climate with low rainfall, you can also plant them when summer temperatures are high enough for the soil to warm up sufficiently.
- Fall: Plant potatoes about 3 weeks before your last frost date. This will allow them time to grow large enough to survive cold snap before they’re harvested in late spring or early summer. The more time between planting and harvest, the larger your tubers will be—and the better chance they’ll have of surviving a late frost!
- Spring: Planting early varieties in January/February may give you an early harvest as well as a healthy crop of smaller tubers throughout summer heat waves without sacrificing any yields from later planted fields that might not make it through a tough winter (or even just delayed planting).
- Winter: Planting during colder months isn’t ideal because it takes longer for tubers to form and grow large enough for harvest by mid-summer; however if you live somewhere where winters tend towards short but bitterly cold temperatures then this might work better than waiting until warmer weather arrives again since most varieties need at least 100 days under 65 degrees F before harvesting (around April depending on location), which could take longer than expected given how quickly conditions change out West where I live so sometimes we don’t end up getting enough sunshine per day until around June-July…
We hope you found this information helpful for planting your potatoes! Now that you know when to plant potatoes in Western Washington, plant some today and get started on the process. Potatoes are a great addition to many meals and are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, iron and more.