Plant potatoes in autumn

ClareBroommaker's picture

This is a quote from an advertising email I've received from Peaceful Valley garden sales.

Fall is upon us, and it's time to consider an often-overlooked opportunity in the gardening calendar: Fall Potato Planting!
It's a fantastic way to get ahead of spring cutworms and weeds. You can put those little greenish potatoes that you may have forgotten about to good use.

Why Plant Potatoes in the Fall?
Beat the Pests: Gardening experts in Wisconsin recommend fall potato planting so you can establish your plants ahead of spring cutworms and weeds.

Soil Temperatures: If your soil gets cold and stays cold in winter, with temperatures 8 inches below the surface staying below 48°F, fall potato planting can be very successful for you.

Volunteer Potatoes: If your garden has a history of volunteer potatoes, then this method should work out well for you.

Now, I've only grown potatoes once and it did not go well. I spring planted. I did not have either intuition or knowledge about growing potatoes. Is autumn planting commonly done? What about rot, spring weeds, and winter hungry animals? The link for info in the email did not work for me, and I'd like to hear from you all anyway.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

I generally have not had success with Fall planted potatoes. I have tried it perhaps 4 or 5 times but no longer do it. I will sometimes get a few volunteers in the Fall from potatoes that were missed from digging the Spring planted ones and collectively may get a few lbs yield from those if the first freeze is late enough. Other than hilling up once they don't typically get much nurturing. YMMV as your climate is a bit cooler than mine.

Sweet Tatorman's picture

I looked back through my gardening notes and found that in 2016 I had a fairly good yield of 25 lbs from 38 feet of row of Fall planted potatoes. That year had a much later than typical first hard freeze. Several attempts in later years had minimal yield so I finally quit further attempts.

mountainmoma's picture

I havent tried it but in my location, as tempting as it is, I dont think it will work. I think my tubers would rot or grow in january when we tend to get a warm spell, followed by a february hard frost. This makes certain fruit trees difficult too.

But, in my area, I typiclly have a long mild fall, so can do 2 crops of potatoes, the last planted july or august

Sweet Tatorman's picture

Upon rereading the original post I think I may have misunderstood. If by Fall planted it is meant planted in the Fall to overwinter for harvest the next year such as is done with "Winter wheat", this sounds like a totally bad idea for my climate and I think by extension, yours.