Fall/Summer/Spring Potatoes

AnnyDFebruary 13, 2011

Hi, tried the search couldn't find what i was looking for. never grew potatoes here in OK, we live near Jones. We are wanting to plant some potatoes this spring and some every 2 weeks till we would plant the fall potatoes for winter storage.

What would be the best way to do this, so we have fresh potatoes all summer long?

When would we need to plant the fall crop?

What varieties would you plant?

Any other suggestions helpful.


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Hmm - I don't know if you can do that. The OSU Planting Guide shows to plant in Spring from 2/15-3/10 and in Fall from 8/1-8/15. I only grew them in Spring last year.

Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Spring Planting Guide

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 9:20PM
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AnnyD, I believe soonergrandmom is right. At some point the Oklahoma heat is going to mess up your plans. I've grown spring potatoes for quite a few years and have done fine. I've tried fall potatoes and had only nominal success. Planting in the heat of August and keeping them from not cooking in the ground is tough. If you have the ground and time though it would be interesting to try what you suggested, but I sure would not depend upon it. I believe you will have diminishing returns as the days get longer and hotter.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 10:04PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I agree with Carol and Scott. Our summer weather here just gets too hot for the succession planting of potatoes. I get the biggest harvest from potatoes planted in mid-winter and grown in the spring and harvested after the plants die back in late spring or early summer. About the best you can do to spread out the harvest a bit is to plant early season, mid-season and late-season potatoes. You'll get some ready to use at slightly different times most years, but I never seem to get around to digging up all of them until the late ones are done.

THE TEMPERATURES POTATOES NEED: Potatoes grow best at air temperatures between 45-55 degrees at night and between 60-75 degrees during the day. Unfortunately, in our climate, the temperatures don't stay in that range very long and that can limit potato production. Planting potatoes early is important because the plants stop tuber initiation once the temps hit about 85 degrees, so you want your seed potatoes in the ground as early as is reasonably possible so the plants are nice and big and healthy and able to initiate a lot of tubers before it gets too hot. That's the reason succession planting potatoes doesn't work well here--because the succession crops planted every 2 weeks have less time to grow and intiate tubers than those planted earlier.

FALL POTATOES: I haven't had a huge amount of success with a fall crop because we have to plant when the temperatures are so hot (usually the high temps at our house are around/above 100 degrees in August at potato planting time), and that just keeps them from growing well. Then, by the time the foliage is getting nice and tall and looking good, an early frost hits....and it is all downhill from there. Sometimes I leaved the fall-planted potatoes in the ground and don't even harvest them. Then, if they don't freeze and they don't rot, they'll start regrowing when the temperatures are right in Feb. or March, and I'll get a harvest from them in the late spring/early summer along wih my spring-planted potatoes.

POTATO PLANTING TIME IS ALMOST HERE: It is about time to start planting potatoes this week down here in southcentral OK if the mud will just dry up a bit. Our snow mostly fell as rain/freezing rain that eventually changed to snow so we have a lot more mud than folks who had the dry snow that melts down to nothing.

VARIETIES: Most stores don't carry a huge variety of seed potatoes....maybe 6 or 8 or 10 at the most, so you're limited by whatever is in the stores near you unless you order online and have them shipped. I usually plant Yukon Gold, Red Norland, Red LaSoda, Kennebec, Purple Peruvian, and whichever blue one I find in the stores, so usually All-Blue or Adirondack Blue and a Russett type. I also really like Purple Viking and some of the fingerling types, but generally have to order them and I didn't order any this year.

SUCCESSION PLANTING: Succession planting of many crops is recommended as a general practice, and to some extent you can do that in many parts of the country where their hottest temperatures are like 80 or 82 or 84 degrees, but not as easily in the hotter parts of the country like ours where high temps in the 90s and low 100s are common. The problem is that succession planting in Oklahoma's summertime months only works well with the vegetables that truly love the heat, and that eliminates all cool-season crops, including potatoes.

OKLAHOMA'S LONG GROWING SEASON: Instead of thinking of Oklahoma's growing season as one long season, think of it as several shorter mini-seasons, with different plants growing better during each mini-season and it is all linked to the temperatures. Every crop has specific needs with regards to soil and air temperatures, and some need specific daylength (in terms of number of hours of daylight) in order to produce. You cannot "force" them to grow well or produce out-of-season, unless you're growing inside where you can completely control the temperature.

THE MINI-SEASONS: Here's a general description of how we plant and grow veggies here, but there's a couple of exceptions. Cool-season crops are planted in February and March for the most part for harvest 1 to 4 months later. Warm-season crops are planted beginning in March (in parts of southern and southeastern OK), April, May and into June for harvest within the next few months. Beginning in July or August, depending on where you are in Oklahoma, you can begin planting fall crops, a few of which are warm-season crops but also cool-season crops for harvest late into fall. You also plant garlic and scallions in the fall for harvest the following summer. A very limited amount of cold-hardy crops like kale, spinach, swiss chard, lettuce and a few others can be planted late in autumn and overwintered to a certain extent (until Mother Nature decides to send a really cold night or two to kill them or at least freeze them back).

RECOMMENDED PLANTING DATES: Look at the planting guide from OSU that Carol linked. You'll see a range of dates for each crop. With the spring planting range of dates, you use the earlier dates if you're further south and the later dates if you're in the northern part of the state, and if you're in central OK, you choose a date in the middle of that range. So, while I will be planting potatoes down here this week if the mud cooperates, someone in Enid or Ponca City likely will be waiting a few more weeks to plant their potatoes.

THE LAW OF DIMINISHING RETURNS: Scott's point about diminishing returns is an excellent one. When we suggest you "can't" or "shouldn't" do somethng, that doesn't mean the plants won't grow if you do it, but rather that the yields are likely to be poor when you plant at any date other than the OSU-recommended dates. While there's always going to be an exception here and there, in general, if you don't follow the OSU-recommended planting dates, you'll have a lower yield. One exception would be if the weather warmed up extra-early and stayed that way, which is a wonderful thought, but not likely. If that did occur, you could start planting warm season crops earlier than is recommended provided you felt like you could cover them up enough to protect them from a late frost. However, the same early warm temperatures that allow you to plant warm season crops also would mess with your cool-season crops and possibly cause a crop failure or a lower yield because cool-season crops need cool weather.

ERRATIC WEATHER: Unfortunately, we live in a state where the temperatures from mid-February through early May can see-saw up and down and be all over the place, and that can be a real challenge for gardeners.

WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU PLANT AT THE "WRONG" TIMES? The answer varies depending on which veggie you're talking about. Radihes planted too late develop an off flavor and can become pithy. Broccoli planted too late tends to go to seed and flowe before it forms the big heads you're expecting. Onions subjected to very cold temperatures after they've reached a certain size (a little over 1/4" in width at the base) tend to bolt and go to seed. Tomatoes planted too early freeze and if transplanted too late often give a poor harvest because they're trying to pollinate and set frut when the temperature (and sometimes the humidity too) is too high. So, with each crop, for maximum success, try to plant as close to the recommended planting date as you can.

EXPERIENCE: With experience growing edibles in our climate, you'll learn what crops you can plant a week or two early or a week or two late in your microclimate in certain conditions and see a big payoff in terms of yield. If you're relatively new to gardening, though, it will take a couple of years' experience before you'll be ready to confidently defy the conventional wisdom in that way. Even then, all you can do is experiment until you figure out what works for you in your soil and your specific climate and your growing conditions, and it helps if the weather works wih you instead of against you.

PRESERVING THE HARVEST: Because succession planting isn't always possible or always successful in our climate, you'll have better luck at being able to eat your harvest over a longer period of time if you learn how to preserve the harvest. For example, you can only keep sweet onions for so long, even in a root cellar, but you can process a lot of them and preserve them to use later. You can chop and slice onions and freeze them to use in cooking throughout the year or you can dehydrate them. I suppose you could can them, but I don't know anyone who does that nowadays except for a few folks who can pearl onions. With potatoes, you can store them in a root cellar....a cellar or basement in a house, an in-ground tornado shelter or an in-ground barrel or container that stays cooler than above-ground storage areas. You can dehydrate potatoes to use in cooking, you can preserve them by canning them. So, while you cannot always eat your entire crop "fresh" before it begins to spoil and go bad, you can preserve it in other ways. I can, dehydrate and freeze almost a whole year's supply of vegetables every year, although some years obviously are better than others. We are still eating veggies and fruits preserved from last year's crops and have enough of most things to last several more months. Alternatively, you can learn to 'eat fresh from the garden' meaning you eat what you're harvesting during the season when you're harvesting it and for a few weeks thereafter and then live without it the rest of the year. I'm not a big fan of that because I don't want to only have broccoli in May and June, for example, or to only have tomatoes from April through late fall or early winter. It is an option though.


    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 11:57PM
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I usually shoot for the week of St Patricks day here for onions and potatoes. Which I imagine is a little later than most if not all of the others on the forum. My onions should arrive that week. I think I put March 1st for the shipping of the potatoes. I ordered from Irish Eyes this year. I like to get my potatoes at least a few weeks early so I can wake them up and get a few sprouts going before planting. I told them to ship early if there was a window open and the week of the 1st looked bad weather wise for them. Irish Eyes has to pick openings in the weather to ship early. They do offer a few varieties I can't find elsewhere. And I like to move my business around to support as many small businesses as I can. Jay

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 9:15AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


I've been chitting my potatoes for about week now and they're ready to go whenever the soil and I are ready.

In Texas we always tried to get the potatoes in the ground around President Washington's birthday (and it was easy to remember because my dad's birthday was one day later), and often had onions in the ground before then. Here in southern OK we shoot for about Feb. 10th-15th if the soil permits. Considering how far north you are, St. Patrick's Day seems about "right" for you, and it seems appropriate to be planting potatoes on St. Paddy's Day.

I wanted to order from Irish Eyes or Ronninger's but never got around to it, and suddenly planting time is here. Our stores do seem to have a somewhat better selection of seed potatoes than in past years. I also left some small potatoes in the ground last year to see if they'd sprout this spring. Most years they do, but most winters aren't as cold as the weather we've had recently.

I have a sudden urge to make baked potato soup for dinner tonight. Maybe I will do that. I still have a handful of stored potatoes from last year in the root cellar.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 9:31AM
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Dawn, I have a handful left as well, but they have long stems on them now. LOL I thought about planting them in a container just to see what would happen. Are they a lost cause or is it worth a try?

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 1:04PM
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Oooh, Dawn. Does your BP Soup taste like Good Eats'? I really miss that part of Dallas. I strongly suspect the difference in Good Eats' recipe and mine is the fat content. :(

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 2:46PM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Carol, I don't know if they would do well or not. I had some Peruvian Purples in the root cellar last year that sent out long stolons like that and I dug deep and planted them, but they really didn't have any more potatoes on them than those that only had tiny sprouting eyes.

Seedmama, I don't know if it tastes like GoodEats because I've never had theirs, but it is a Paula Deen recipe, so you know it is good (though certainly not low-fat!). If you want me to type it here or find it online and link it, let me know.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 8:13PM
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Hopefully you-all can shed a little more light on this sprouting seed potatoes issue. We have an overabundance of a bumper crop harvested last July in Tulsa, OK. We ate, we saved and ate some more and finally found boxes of them sprouting. I was going to throw them all out (not back into the compost or garden, though....out in the yard somewhere). But I am wondering if I slow down the sprouting (currently at 1" to 6") I might have success if I plant them Feb 15, 2012....earliest date for Tulsa.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 2:37PM
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How do you plan to slow down the sprouting? Do you have a place to store them that is consistently cooler than where they are now?

What I usually do this time of the year is simply pull off the sprouts and start giving potatoes away to family. I have in the past planted potatoes that had started sprouting in Dec or Jan and I pulled sprouts for two months and then planted the potatoes with the last crop of sprouts--they will keep on sprouting for a couple months. However, I didn't get a very good yield. The potatoes had lost too much energy.

But if you do have a cold place to keep them to slow down the sprouts, it might be worth a shot. Let us know how it works if you do it.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 4:20PM
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I'm storing small potatoes in the crisper of my fridge this year. These are a purple variety that Tom Wagner developed and Darrel Jones of Selected Plants sent me last spring. He says he keeps the small taters in the crisper. Just make sure the temp is set above freezing and then a short while before you wish to plant remove them and let them develop sprouts. So far mine seem to be storing fine. Since he told me this I've had others that save and plant a lot of taters say they set the temp on an old ice box where it stays around 40 degrees and feel the whole ice box except the freezer with taters. Say they keep well to eat or for seed potatoes. I remember the old silos they used to store them in along the Arkansas vallley. Just like a silo pit with a top over it. They would fill them up in the fall and they would keep most of the winter in them. Jay

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 5:58PM
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This year I can't seem to keep potatoes from sprouting in the pantry. I just finished eating a big old pot of potato soup with the works; butter, sour cream, cheese and bacon. Just like loaded baked potato soup, but I didn't bake the potatoes, I diced and boiled them, then added all of the goodies to the nice thick soup. So good.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 6:35PM
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Carol that sounds good. I've been meaning to make potato-leek soup. Still have leeks in the garden.

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 9:39PM
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Dorothy, Do you plant leeks from seed? I have grown a few from plants, but they didn't get very big. When do you plant them?

    Bookmark   December 17, 2011 at 10:14PM
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Carol, I planted leeks from seed last spring early when I planted the perrenial onions (Hesheiko, I think). But a while back Ok Gardening did a segment showing starting the seeds in July or Aug, transplanting in Sept, overwintering well mulched with leaves and pulling in April or May I think it was. So next year I will try that. These made good size plants which make very good soup.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 11:18AM
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Dorothy, I have a hard time remembering to start seeds in mid summer, but I have always thought that it might be a better time for leeks and then let them overwinter. Thanks.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2011 at 2:37PM
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