Hardiness zone 6 can accommodate many plants, from squash, peppers, and cucumbers to potatoes, peas, and radishes. Among them, potatoes stand out as one of the vegetables Americans love most.
If you like this starchy crop and live in zone 6, you may have considered growing it yourself.
So when to plant potatoes in zone 6? It is best to do this task in April and May, but if your last frost falls within March, you can grow them around Saint Patrick’s day.
Best Time to Grow Potatoes in Zone 6
Though you now know the best time to plant potatoes, it still pays to know the rules that dictate their gardening calendar. This way, you can narrow down your precise planting date.
Because potatoes can tolerate freezing temperatures of 29 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, we recommend growing them two to three weeks before the final frost.
- For example, Hays, Kansas, which is in zone 6a, has its last frost on April 24. Therefore, people here can sow potatoes on April 10 or April 3.
- Meanwhile, Kingman, Kansas, which is in zone 6b, experiences its last frost on April 21. Consequently, a good time to plant potatoes here would be April 7 or March 31.
Note that if you follow the above timeframe, it’s best to give your plants some cold weather protection. For optimal growth, use fabric row covers and straw mulch, so your crops can have some additional warmth.
- Note: It is fine to sow potatoes after the last frost. Doing so can be a nice option, especially if you prefer not to worry about unpredictable hard freezes or the temperature of your garden.
Plus, the growing season in zone 6 is long (extending up to November in some places), so your potatoes planting season doesn’t need to start very early.
What month do you plant potatoes?
Generally, you should grow early potatoes in mid to late March. Meanwhile, second early and maincrop varieties will do well if sown during mid-April.
Aside from this timeframe, we can plant early potatoes at the start of April, while maincrop types should go into the ground at the end of the same month.
That said, it’s not uncommon to see southern regions begin planting their potato as early as January or late February.
What temperature should the ground be to plant potatoes?
Above, we said that potatoes can withstand a temperature as low as 29℉. While that is true, they need at least 45 degrees to grow after planting. Temperatures of 60 to 70℉ would be ideal, while anything above 95° will prevent tuber formation.
When and how to dig up potatoes?
The time to dig up potatoes depends on the variety you choose. Below are some general guidelines you can follow:
|First earlies||In June or July|
|Second earlies||In August or July|
|Maincrop potatoes||From August to October|
Note that the above estimates are based on regular seeding times for each plant type (you can see the first FAQ for these details).
For more accuracy, look up the cultivar you’re growing and its maturation period. If the potato takes 80 days to mature, add 80 days to your sowing date.
As for harvesting, dig around the base of the plant with a spading fork, ensuring you avoid the tubers. If you have a hard time seeing where the tubers are, use your hand to check the soil. Once the potatoes are visible, pull them up by hand.
When to plant potatoes for Christmas?
Planting in the fall (around August or September) will give you Christmas potatoes. Here are some tips for cultivating them during this time:
- Put your plants in a container or a compost bag instead of directly into the garden bed. The bag or container should hold multi-purpose compost and be over 20 liters in size. Make a few holes at the bottom of your container for adequate drainage.
- Then, you can either fill ⅔ of the bag or container with compost alone, or mix compost with sharp sand in a 1:1 ratio.
- Place your seed potatoes 2o cm or around 8 inches apart, and water them until the planting medium is moist but not soggy.
- Make sure to give the crops plenty of sunlight (at least six hours of it per day) and move the containers somewhere with temperature control when winter frost arrives.
- Irrigate 1-2 inches of water every week in 5-day intervals.
What are the hardiness zones for potatoes?
Potatoes will grow in zones 3 to 10, and you can look up USDA maps to know which region you’re in.
To illustrate, New Mexico, which has zones 4b to 9a, has a suitable climate for planting potatoes. The Rio Arriba area is in zone 5, for instance, while Lincoln has zone 7 and Luna has zone 8a.
Hopefully, you now know when to plant potatoes in zone 6. Just follow our guidelines above, and your crops will grow without adverse weather killing them. Make sure you provide all the necessary conditions for the potatoes to grow well.
If you find this article helpful, please share it with other people as well. Have fun gardening!