Good Friday – Time to plant potatoes?

With Good Friday almost upon us, some folks will be gearing up to plant their potatoes. It is a commonly held belief that potatoes should always be planted on Good Friday.

Using Good Friday as a planting date may be problematic, as this date can occur early in March or late April, and soil temperatures may vary greatly. As potatoes will not germinate in cold soils, wait to plant seed pieces as soon as soil temperature warms to 40 degrees F.

What type of potatoes to plant?

Generally, there are brown-skinned russet types that are starchy and good for baking; red potatoes with white, yellow or red flesh, that are starchy or waxy types (great for potato salad); white potatoes that are white or yellow fleshed; as well as the more exotic blue/purple varieties (steam or microwave to keep color bright) and fingerling types.

Did you know?

Do not plant potatoes sold in grocery stores for eating, as they may be sprayed with chemicals to keep them dormant or infected with diseases that can remain in soil for a long time. Instead, buy potatoes for planting from a certified seed dealer.

For further information on growing potatoes or other gardening questions, contact Yvonne McCormick at yvonne@iastate.edu.