If you are not familiar with when to plant potatoes in Idaho, it starts early in April until the middle of May. After all, this is the leading potato producing state, and it makes sense for a lot of people to get interested in potato farming. Knowing when is the best time to plant in Idaho is the first step before getting involved with Idaho potatoes.
Many states grow potatoes, but there’s no doubt that Idaho comes to mind when you think of these tubers. The best location is Idaho if you are genuinely interested in becoming a potato farmer. In fact, Idaho potatoes became the embodiment of high-quality russet potatoes.
What Is The Best Time To Plant Potatoes?
The best time to plant potatoes is to start in early April until the middle of May. The majority of the planting in Idaho will also be in the last two weeks of April to the first two weeks of May. Depending on the potato varieties and areas in Idaho, one can start and harvest earlier, or plant lesser crops.
For example, one can plant in bulk if the farm is in a cold region. On the contrary, you can start planting earlier if you are from a warmer location. And then, Idaho usually harvests in the last two weeks of September until the first two weeks of the following month.
While Idaho offers the best conditions for potatoes, you can also consider growing the crops in a greenhouse. This way, you can harvest year-round without worrying about the varieties, or damage from frost. Refer to Krostrade.com to know more about the advantages of greenhouse farming.
When to plant potatoes in Idaho
In Idaho, you can plant potatoes in April until May. The reason is that the tubers would grow well during cold weather. For northern locations, they start early to mid-April before the last frost date.
Remember that while potatoes thrive in cold conditions, frost can be damaging to the crops. Therefore, remember to plant up to 8 weeks earlier than the average last frost date. You may even start planting earlier as soon as the soil is workable.
Ideally, the soil should be at 50°F and not overly wet. This will dictate you that you can start planting potatoes without the risk of rot. However, it’s a common practice in southern locations to grow tomatoes from September to February.
Potatoes can be a winter crop in these regions because their winters are mild. Still, offer some frost protection in your garden using a greenhouse. Always be on the lookout for a late-season freeze.
How Do You Grow Potatoes In Idaho?
Growing potatoes in Idaho is straightforward as you would with russet potatoes. It includes planning the date, soil preparation, planting, caring, and harvesting. The University of Idaho Extension is generous in sharing different publications and resources to study potato farming.
However, it is worth emphasizing that there are laws governing potato cultivation. Everyone must abide by these rules and requirements to prevent agricultural diseases. Therefore, only use certified potato seed tubers at garden centers in Idaho.
Step 1: Planning the date
Knowing the last frost date in your area will let you know when you can start planting potatoes. Mark your calendar and aim to start eight weeks before the frost date. If the soil is ready, you can even begin planting 21 days before the frost.
Step 2: Soil preparation
The next step is to cultivate the area and prepare rows that are 3 feet apart. This will also help you loosen the soil and ensure proper drainage. Afterward, mix in fertilizer, water, and add organic mulch.
Step 3: Planting
Use certified seed potatoes from Idaho. Cut them into pieces with at least an eye each. Before planting, store the pieces in a dark, humid place for up to 3 days to dry out.
For the planting itself, drop a seed tuber in a shallow hole. It should be at least 3 inches deep, making sure the sprouts are pointing up. The spacing for each tuber is at 12 inches, and add a mound of dirt on top.
Step 4: Caring
As the potatoes grow gangbusters in four weeks, add more dirt on the mound to encourage growth. Around 3 inches of soil is good, and you can also add a layer of organic mulch to manage weeds. When you notice that your plants are about 6 inches tall, mound more soil at 4 inches to prevent the potatoes from emerging.
You can water your crops once or twice a week to prevent the soil from drying. However, light watering is enough as the root systems are fragile. Be on the lookout for pests and diseases as well.
Step 5: Harvesting
You can start harvesting once the plants have died and turned brown. Pull the potatoes by hand, but you can make it easier by wetting the soil first. Each plant can yield up to 5 pounds of potatoes.
How Long Does It Take For Idaho Potatoes To Grow?
Idaho potatoes take up to 110 to 120 days to grow, but this still depends on which variety you planted. Overall, the size of the potatoes that you aim to produce will dictate your harvest time. At the same time, the longer these tubers grow, the higher the yield that you will also get.
How does one know the size of the potatoes that they will get? You can dig up a plant and look at the tubers underneath. If you are happy with the size of the potatoes, then you can start harvesting.
If you want to get bigger potatoes, try harvesting at a different time. This will give you an idea of what duration it will take for the plants to achieve the size you want. However, do not be discouraged if the potatoes don’t have the same size every time.
How many potatoes does Idaho produce? Idaho produces up to 100 million hundredweight of potatoes per 300,000 acres annually. More than Russet potatoes, the state also grows Yukon Golds, Reds, Fingerlings, and 27 other varieties.
Why Do Potatoes Grow Well In Idaho?
Potatoes grow well in Idaho because the state has fertile volcanic soil, mountain-fed irrigation, and a growing season of warm days and cold nights. As a result, the potatoes they yield are high-quality in terms of texture and taste due to high solids and low moisture content. Idaho potatoes are also available year-round compared to other states.
As time goes on, the potato industry in Idaho has developed and led research, growing techniques, educational and training materials, handling and distribution, storage, and food safety issues. The Idaho Potato Commission also has certification marks to ensure customers of the quality Idaho potatoes.
Idaho is the leading potato-producing state, so it’s no surprise that anyone interested in potato farming has chosen it for growing the tubers. However, do you know when to plant potatoes in Idaho? The best time to do so is in early April to the middle of May.
You must also mark your calendar and plant eight weeks earlier than your location’s last frost date. While potatoes thrive in cold conditions, they are still prone to damages from frost. Also, a good solution that one can apply is the use of a greenhouse to maintain the ideal temperatures for the potatoes.