Can I plant potatoes now?

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by wild card, Mar 17, 2004.

  1. wild card

    wild card New Member

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    Mar 12, 2004
    The last frost may not be until end of May. Soil is wet. Will they rot or even freeze if i plant them this soon?

    The reason i ask is because last years leftover crop is sprouting like crazy. The box is full of potaotes with 6 to 10 inch sprouts.

    Do I still need to green them first?
    Some of the sprouts will be broken when I remove them from the tangled mess. They will grow back, right?

    Should I plant them in containers inside? What kind?

    Advice please.
     
  2. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Best to wait until mid-April to plant if last frost is end of May. Cold and wet could indeed rot them.

    Also, don't worry about those long sprouts. Break every one of them off! Those potatoes have plenty more reserve eyes just to handle such an event. They'll grow back new sprouts. If you planted them now, with the sprouts above ground, they'd just freeze off that much quicker and the potatoes would still have to produce another. You should not have any sprout longer than an inch or so when you plant.

    Also, if your potatoes are dry and shrivelled at planting time, soak them in water overnight and they will fill out again.

    Martin
     

  3. Great! Thank you for the advice. Is there a reason I should break the sprouts off now? Or does it matter?
     
  4. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Yes there is a reason to break the long sprouts off now. They are drawing all of the reserve energy from the potatoes. If left too long, there wouldn't be anything left for the backup eyes.

    Martin
     
  5. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    Do you think it's too early for me to plant potatoes? Our last frost date is end of May, but I'm in dry Colorado and we probably won't get much snow anymore this season. If we do, the sun will come out and melt it the next day. I don't have to worry about rain either. Sigh...
    What do you think? We have such a short growing season that I want to push the envelope. I'm in zone 5a.
    Thanks,
    Peg
     
  6. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    Peg, if you planted now, that would be 9 days earlier than I did in 2002. Our zones are about the same. Planted 5" deep, and into cool soil, it's going to take a month before you see much green. Thus look ahead to what you'd expect for cold a month from now. That's when you have to keep one eye on the potatoes and the other on the weather report. A little frost won't hurt them much, perhaps just nip the edges of the leaves since there would be residual warmth in the soil to prevent major damage. However, if you expect a low of 25, get into the garden with a hoe and pull up enough soil to just barely cover the leaves. They'll stay warm and simply grow back up through the dirt in a few days. So, you can indeed successfully plant them now if you wished.

    Martin
     
  7. Peg

    Peg Well-Known Member

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    Thanks Martin! I thought maybe I'd dig the trench and let that soil warm up a bit, then plant. I can just taste them now!
    Peg