5 Proven Strategies for a Non-Stop Potato Harvest from Spring to Fall

Potatoes, oh potatoes! They’re like the unsung heroes of our kitchen, right? They’re incredibly generous, giving us heaps of goodness for just a little effort. Plus, they’re like the answer to our self-sufficiency dreams, providing those much-needed carbs. But hey, let’s be real, they do come with their challenges. Storing them can feel like playing a game of Tetris in your pantry, and harvesting them all at once can be a bit of a logistical puzzle.

But guess what? With a little strategic planning and some savvy techniques, you can keep the potato train rolling from late spring to early fall. And the best part? And guess what? You’ll not only save space in your garden but also munching on those delicious spuds way before your neighbors even have a chance to say “potato!”

So, follow these five strategies to succession plant your potatoes and you will have them fresh throughout the season, saving space in your pantry and in your garden for other crops! Off we go!

Tip 1 – Plant Your Potatoes Earlier!

5 Proven Strategies for a Non-Stop Potato Harvest from Spring to Fall 1

Put simply, you can plant your potatoes before the last day of frost. All you need to do is shelter them from cold temperatures, and you will get an earlier crop, in fact, as soon as late spring!

You must choose an early variety to harvest in spring, like ‘Orla’, ‘Red Duke of York’ or ‘Rocket’. They will be ready for harvesting in 80 days. So, depending on which climate zone you are in, you will get the first crop by late spring, even earlier in warmer regions.

You can plant these potatoes 3 weeks before the last day of frost (you can try 4 in warmer climates), and don’t worry about the cool temperatures of early spring, they actually need them to fatten their nutritious tubers. In fact, when summer comes and we hit 80°F or 27°, they start struggling. It’s not a chance they grow well in cold climates.

To protect them from frost, you can use a simple polythene sheet, or a dome or polytunnel. The better the cover, the more you can anticipate planting your potatoes.

It may happen that some of the leaves or stems die back, for unexpected late cold days, but they will usually recover and grow back in a few days.

So, be the envy of your neighborhood, and check the second method.

Tip 2 – Plant Early, Mid and Late Season Potato Varieties

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Potatoes are great because you can stagger their crops by choosing different varieties, which you can still plant at the same time, but they mature at different rates. So, grow early, mid and late season varieties, and you will extend the season.

  • Early season potato varieties are ready to harvest in 80 to 90 days.
  • Mid seasonvarieties take between 90 and 110 days to mature.
  • Late season varietiesrequire more than 110 days.

With this little trick, you can already extend your potato harvest season to more than a month, and even two, if you stagger planting them at different times. In fact…

Tip 3 – Succession Plant Your Potatoes

Of course, the most obvious way to get longer, staggered potato crops is to succession plant them. You can plant potatoes throughout spring, when temperatures are safely below 80°F or 27°C. In colder climates, this can be quite late (but plant early season varieties, or they won’t have time to mature before frost).

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You can leave 2 to 3 weeks between the successive plantings, and this will give you continuous crops throughout the season, and as late as early fall in most temperate climate zones. In hot regions, this can extend even further!

If you add the succession planting to the different varieties (early, mid and late), you will get a very long season of potato crops indeed!

Tip 4 – Harvest New Potatoes

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But I have a tip to fill your pantry also in between crops: harvest new potatoes! Tyes, those tender and delicious baby potatoes that cost so much at the grocer’s!

They are not fully ripe potatoes, but they are excellent in salads, for example, and they cook so fast! And you can harvest them continuously, even daily, throughout the season.

How? Simple, before the plants blossom, feel the earth at their sides, put your hand in it, and you will find small new potatoes you can simply uproot and take directly to the kitchen. This way, you will never be without them when you need them.

Tip 5 – Grow Potatoes in Bags

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Grow bags are becoming all the craze with potatoes! They are what it says on the can, bags, indeed, and you can buy them, high quality or low, according to your budget, or recycle jute ones, or others you have lying about. Even plastic garbage ones are good, as long as you place holes in them.

But don’t use transparent ones or your potatoes will turn green.

They are very easy to use, and they can fill in old gaps in your vegetable garden, and replace raised beds. What’s more, you can put them in a sheltered position, like a cold greenhouse or polytunnel, and move them about with a wheelbarrow. This way, you can extend the season!

Start them outside and move the inside to have late crops, and do the opposite for early crops.

Grow bags are really ideal for potatoes because the soil does not compact, so they can fatten freely, and it’s so easy to harvest them. No digging needed, just peel the bag off and fill your hands with nutritious potatoes!

Two Final Tips to Get Big Potato Crops

So, now you know how to extend your potato harvest season from spring to fall, and save space both indoors and outdoors at the same time.

But I have two final tips for you, so your crops are not just long lasting, but also bountiful.

First, make sure the soil is organically rich but also loose, so they can feed and fatten freely. Finally, with the exception of new potatoes, remember to harvest them when the flowers are in bloom, if you act too early, they won’t have fattened to their maximum, and if you wait too long, they will have shrunk!

Amber Noyes

Written By

Amber Noyes

Amber Noyes was born and raised in a suburban California town, San Mateo. She holds a master’s degree in horticulture from the University of California as well as a BS in Biology from the University of San Francisco. With experience working on an organic farm, water conservation research, farmers’ markets, and plant nursery, she understands what makes plants thrive and how we can better understand the connection between microclimate and plant health. When she’s not on the land, Amber loves informing people of new ideas/things related to gardening, especially organic gardening, houseplants, and growing plants in a small space.

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