When Is the Best Time to Plant Potatoes in Illinois?

Do you want to successfully grow potatoes in your Illinois garden this year? If so, you have come to the right place. When many people think of states that grow the best potatoes, Illinois is not one of them. Due to the state’s climate. Growing potatoes can be a challenge but not impossible. Today you will learn when to plant potatoes in Illinois and how to get the most out of your crop.

USDA Hardiness Zones

when to plant potatoes in Illinois

An excellent guide that will help you determine if planting potatoes in your garden is possible is the USDA hardiness zone chart. These zones are broken down by the average minimum temperature found in these regions. Below is a breakdown of the state of Illinois and each of its hardiness zones.

Northern Illinois

If you live in this part of the state, you will fall in the hardiness zones of 5a and 5b. The average minimum temperature for this area is –20 to –10 degrees. Because this region of the state has colder temperatures, you will need to plant potatoes at the start of May after the danger of frost has passed.

Central Illinois

This part of the state falls in zones 5a and 6a and has an average minimum temperature range of –20 to –5. Central Illinois has slightly warmer temperatures than the northern part of the state. Potatoes can be planted in the middle of April when frost is no longer an issue.

Southern Illinois

This area of the state falls within zones 6a to 7a and has an average minimum temperature range of –5 to 10 degrees. Potatoes in this region can be planted at the end of March after frost is no longer persistent. Southern Illinois is an excellent place for growing potatoes, and many gardeners in this area have these yummy vegetables growing in their plot.

Planting Potatoes in Containers

when to plant potatoes in Illinois

Sometimes mother nature can be challenging to predict. Cold temperatures can sometimes present themselves even after the last historical day of frost. When this happens, crop loss is almost inevitable. Potatoes once spouted from the ground are only hardy up to 50 degrees. Even light frosting can damage the critical parts of the plant.

To prevent losing your potato crop, you should consider planting them in containers. If the threat of freezing does happen, you can quickly move these plants indoors. Potatoes do well in containers, and it’s an easy way to protect them. 5-gallon buckets that come with handles are great for planting potatoes, and they can easily be moved to different locations.

How Long Does It Take to Grow Potatoes?

when to plant potatoes in Illinois

You might be wondering how long it will take before you can start harvesting potatoes. In general, potatoes can be harvested 60 to 90 days after planting. A good way to tell your potatoes are ready for harvest is when they start to develop flowers.

Keep An Eye on Pests and Diseases

As with all garden plants, you will need to keep an eye out for both pests and diseases that affect potatoes. The most common pests that you will find attacking your potatoes are wireworms, potato beetles, aphids, and flea beetles.

Diseases that are often found in potatoes include early blight, common scab, black dot, and blackleg. These diseases can be severe, and if left unchecked, you could lose your entire potato crop. To learn more about diseases that affect potatoes, check with your local agriculture agent.

Storing Potatoes

Once you have had a successful harvest, you will be left with more potatoes than you can eat. Luckily you can store potatoes for several months. To store potatoes, place them in a dry and dark area of the home. Potatoes store well when daylight is completely avoided. When storing potatoes, make sure they get plenty of airflow around them. Having airflow will keep them from rotting, and they will last for many months to come.

When to plant potatoes in Illinois: Conclusion

Growing potatoes in Illinois is both fun and rewarding. With the right timing and care, you will be able to enjoy a bumper crop of delicious potatoes. When researching when to plant potatoes in Illinois, remember before planting to check your area’s hardiness zone for best results.

Related Article: When to Harvest Potatoes: A Complete Guide