Will Frost Harm Your Potatoes? The way to Defend Your Harvest

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So, what does the chilly climate imply for our potato crops? 

Potatoes are frost tolerant up to some extent however is not going to proceed to develop over the winter. Persistently chilly temperatures will kill the greens of the plant and any tubers left within the floor will go dormant earlier than sending up new sprouts within the spring.

Maintain studying to study all about defend your potatoes from frost and lengthen the potato rising season. 

Are potatoes frost tolerant?

One of many good qualities of potatoes is that they’re frost tolerant as much as a sure level. They will deal with some mild frosts with out inflicting main detriment to the tubers. However, when you get a tough freeze within the fall or winter, the greens of the plant are more likely to die again utterly. 

Earlier than we preserve going, I ought to make clear the distinction between a frost and a freeze. A frost can occur even when temperatures don’t get all the way in which right down to 32 levels and might be seen on the leaves of the plant. 

Because the late summer time season transitions to fall, you’re more likely to have some frosty nights that shortly heat up by mid-morning. Your potatoes can stand up to this type of frost. 

However, a tough freeze is when temperatures get under 28 levels and keep that low for an prolonged interval. These are the temperatures that can kill your potatoes and a lot of the different issues which are nonetheless in your backyard. 

How late are you able to harvest potatoes?

To find out how lengthy you possibly can preserve your potatoes within the floor, it’s necessary to know your first regional frost date. Relying on what hardiness zone you reside in, your first frost date might be earlier or later within the fall. 

Unsure when your regional frost date is? You’ll be able to put your zip code into this web site and it’ll let you know!

You need to have your potatoes harvested earlier than the bottom freezes utterly. In any other case, you’ll have a really tough time digging them out. 

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I wish to lean on the secure aspect and harvest all of my potatoes earlier than Thanksgiving. In case you stay someplace hotter, you might be able to push this date by a few weeks. 

In case you do occur to go away them within the floor overwinter, there’s a likelihood that the tubers could survive and ship up new shoots within the spring. However this may be hit and miss and the tubers within the floor will rot earlier than producing new potatoes.  

The way to defend potatoes from frost

In case you see a frost coming within the climate forecast, there are some season extension methods which you can make use of to assist defend your potatoes. 

Row cowl

That is the commonest technique for safeguarding crops from chilly temperatures. Frost fabric or reemay is sort of a large blanket that goes over crops to maintain them heat. 

It’s necessary that the material doesn’t contact the crops as this may trigger harm to them. So ensure you put steel hoops over your rows which you can drape the frost fabric over. 

When you’ve put the material on, you’ll want to search out some weight to carry it down in order that the wind doesn’t blow it away. I normally simply use some bricks that I’ve mendacity round however many individuals use sandbags too. Actually something heavy will work. 

Frost fabric is available in many various sizes and thicknesses which is able to have an effect on how heat it retains your crops. Normally, a frost fabric will preserve your crops 3 levels hotter than it’s outdoors. 

If it’s speculated to get actually chilly, you possibly can even add a second layer of frost fabric for some added insulation. 

The one draw back to utilizing frost fabric is that it makes it harder for daylight to succeed in your crops. Subsequently, you shouldn’t depart it on for a very long time. Frost fabric is a short-term resolution. 

If the temps are solely chilly at evening, then you possibly can cowl your potatoes within the night and uncover them within the morning as soon as it’s hotter. I wouldn’t depart frost fabric on crops for longer than a day. 

If the temps get chilly and keep that means, it’s greatest to reap what you possibly can whilst you nonetheless have the possibility. 

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Different covers

In case you don’t have lengthy rows of potato crops, then row cowl could be a bit impractical on your backyard. For gardens that simply have a handful of potato crops, you possibly can cowl them with some cardboard containers or paper luggage. 

Identical to with frost fabric, ensure to uncover your crops through the day to guarantee that they nonetheless have entry to daylight.


Hilling is the method of piling up soil alongside the perimeters of your potato crops. Often, that is completed all through the rising season to assist promote new progress on the plant and improve tuber yield.

However, it may also be used as a type of frost safety. By hilling your crops, you’re giving your underground tubers an additional layer of insulation to assist preserve them heat. 

Develop frost-tolerant varieties

That is extra of a proactive season extension tip than a reactive one. In case you’re hoping to get extra out of your potato harvest this yr, then select to plant some varieties which are extra frost tolerant. 

Frost-tolerant potato varieties embrace Russet, Elba, or Lehigh

Can potatoes be grown within the winter?

In case you stay in a hotter local weather or have an indoor rising house like a greenhouse, then there’s potential to proceed rising potatoes by way of the winter. 

In any other case, it’s not possible that any potatoes will develop over the winter. Particularly if temps are constantly under 32 levels. As soon as the foliage dies again, any tubers nonetheless underground will go right into a dormant state and received’t ship up new shoots till the soil temps begin to heat again up. 

In case you’re unsure you’ll be capable to harvest your entire potatoes earlier than the bottom freezes, you possibly can strive including a layer of straw insulation to your beds to assist preserve them a little bit hotter and offer you some extra time to reap. 


So now you understand the whole lot you should find out about defending your potatoes from frost. My primary suggestion is to ensure you cowl them with frost fabric or perhaps a cardboard field if you understand of any chilly temps coming your means. 

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Attempt to harvest any tubers nonetheless within the floor earlier than it freezes utterly. As soon as the bottom is frozen it’s very tough to dig in, if not unattainable. 

Any tubers that keep within the floor over winter have the potential to ship up new sprouts within the spring. However, there’s no assure they’ll make it by way of the winter. 

Your greatest wager is to reap what you possibly can within the fall and put together to plant a contemporary spherical of seed potatoes within the spring!

Try these must-have gardening merchandise

You don’t want a lot to start out gardening, however some instruments and merchandise will make a distinction in how comfy and efficient gardening will be for you. Listed below are my favorites:

  • Backyard Trowel. A very good backyard trowel will final you a few years. I like how sturdy this hand trowel from WOLF-Garten is, the steel doesn’t bend and it has a pleasant grip.
  • Trimming Scissors. I take advantage of them for delicate pruning and harvesting all summer time lengthy, they usually’re tremendous useful. These Teflon Trimming Scissors are additional good as a result of they don’t rust as simply.
  • Dutch Hoe. Dutch hoes could seem old school, however there’s nothing like a fast sweep by way of the topsoil to eliminate small weeds – no bending required. I like WOLF-Garten’s choice: this dutch hoe coupled with their common deal with.
  • Develop Lights. These develop lights from Mars Hydro are tremendous sturdy, but dimmable, so that they match each stage of progress. They don’t put out an excessive amount of warmth and are very economical.
  • Seedling Trays. There’s an artwork to selecting the very best dimension for seedling trays in order that it holds the proper quantity of water and provides the roots sufficient room to develop. These germination plugs are good when coupled with 1020 backside trays. 
  • Liquid Fertilizer. You’ll must feed your crops from the seedling stage, all the way in which to fruiting. This natural fish & seaweed mix is a really versatile choice. Use it half-strength for younger crops and full-strength for established crops.

Browse our record of instruments, fertilizers & pesticides, indoor rising merchandise and seed store suggestions – we hope you discover our choice helpful and it saves you a while!