Can first early potatoes survive frost?

Answered by Jason Smith

First early potatoes can survive frost to some extent. While potatoes are not frost hardy, meaning they cannot tolerate freezing temperatures for extended periods, they can withstand some frost if they are properly protected.

It is important to note that when we talk about first early potatoes, we are referring to the early maturing varieties that are typically planted in early spring and harvested in early summer. These varieties have a shorter growing season and are more likely to be affected by late spring frosts.

When it comes to planting first early potatoes, it is generally recommended to wait until the threat of frost has passed. In most regions, this is around early March. Planting too early can risk exposing the emerging foliage to potential frost damage.

However, it is worth mentioning that potatoes have a unique ability to grow new foliage even if the top growth is damaged by frost. This is because the growth points of the potato plant, known as “eyes,” are located underground in the tubers. As long as these tubers remain unaffected by frost, the plant can still recover and continue to grow.

To protect first early potatoes from frost, it is important to plant them in well-drained soil. Excess moisture can increase the risk of frost damage. Additionally, hilling up soil around the emerging plants can provide some insulation and protection against frost.

In my personal experience, I have planted first early potatoes in early spring and have had some instances where unexpected late frosts occurred. While the emerging foliage did show signs of frost damage, the plants were able to recover and continued to grow. However, it is always best to avoid exposing potato plants to frost as much as possible.

While first early potatoes are not frost hardy, they can survive some frost if they are properly protected. Planting them after the threat of frost has passed and providing some insulation can help minimize the risk of frost damage. However, it is always advisable to monitor weather conditions and take necessary precautions to protect your potato plants from the potential harm of frost.