You can plant potatoes in California between February and August if you live in warmer areas south of San Francisco or in the Central Valley. Land within this area is warm enough to allow for a year-round growing season but not hot enough to kill your plants during the summer months.
In cooler areas, you can plant potatoes later in the spring, after the threat of frost has passed. Let’s look at when to plant potatoes in California.
When to plant potatoes in CA?
The best time to plant potatoes in California is from late February through to August. Though, the exact time depends on your location and frost-free period. In many areas, you’ll be able to grow two crops of potatoes, an early variety that can be harvested in the spring and then another crop to be harvested in the fall or winter. Let’s have a closer look at planting by area:
Southern California has a longer growing season, and you can plant your potatoes any time between February and August. You may like to consider when you’d like to harvest your potatoes before deciding on the planting date.
If you plant your potatoes in early February, they will be ready to harvest in the late spring. February planting may be beneficial as there’s more rain at this time of year. You won’t need to water your potatoes, and they will grow well with little care.
Planting in August will give you a potato crop in the late fall and early winter. This is an excellent choice if you’re looking to grow potatoes for thanksgiving or Christmas.
An early potato crop can be planted between February and March and a late harvest in July to August. It’s best to check the soil temperature before planting a spring crop. Only plant your potatoes when the soil temperature is at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
When planting a later crop, you should also consider when the first expected frost date is likely to be.
Northern California has a colder climate which means that potatoes need to be planted slightly later than in southern California. Ensure that the risk of frost has passed before planting your potatoes in the spring. In most areas, it’s best to plant potatoes in March or April.
You can plant as late as June for a fall crop, but you’ll need to dig your potatoes before the first frost to ensure they don’t get damaged by the cold weather. In coastal areas, plant potatoes between March and June.
Tips for growing potatoes
Planting potatoes in California doesn’t require a big amount of planning. However, you should consider some tips to grow your plants successfully:
Be sure to choose the correct potato variety and buy good-quality seeds. It is very important that you choose potatoes adapted for the California climate. Choose a sunny location to plant your seed potatoes, preferably with additional protection from the afternoon sun. This location should be free of frost pockets and strong winds.
Lay out the pieces of seed potatoes in a tray and wait for them to grow sprouts. This could take up to 2 weeks, so you’ll need to be patient. Once the seed potatoes have sprouted, it’s time for planting. Plant in rows and cover the seed potatoes with up to 2 inches of soil. Then water thoroughly and keep moist until you see that the plants have started to grow.
As soon as sprouts emerge, cover the soil with straw mulch to suppress weeds and keep soil temperatures cool. You can also begin applying a fertilizer when your potato plants are 6 inches high.
Potato yield depends on many factors, such as variety, soil fertility, and planting time. Most varieties of potatoes take 3 to 4 months to grow. Don’t allow your potatoes to become too large since they turn a lot sweeter when harvested before maturity. They will be small at first, but you should start harvesting them earlier rather than later.
When to plant potatoes in California is going to depend largely on what part of the State you live in.
You can grow potatoes in most parts of California, no matter what type of climate you live in. In many areas, potatoes will grow year-round and can be planted in the fall, winter, or spring. It’s essential to choose the right variety and apply the tips mentioned above to have a successful harvest!
If you are looking to plant a garden, you may also want to know when to plant tomatoes in California.
Related: Can you eat potato leaves?