Potatoes are a cool-season crop considered one of the staple foods throughout the world, according to University of Illinois Extension. These vegetables need cool weather to thrive and produce an abundant crop, so early planting gives them a definite edge.
Potatoes grow best in cool weather, so they must be planted in early spring. Aim for a planting date two weeks before the average last freeze date for your location for best results. University of Illinois Extension suggests planting potatoes in March or April, though this varies by growing zone.
Planting potatoes too early leads to rotting in cold and damp conditions, along with increasing the risk of freezing from surprise cold spells. Late planting in warm climates causes equal problems, with potatoes dying in temperatures of 32.2 to 35.0 degrees C. Choose early or midseason maturing varieties in warmer areas to ensure potatoes reach maturity before the arrival of such weather.
Store seed potatoes in the refrigerator until planting time. This keeps them from sprouting prematurely. Choose Rrusset potatoes only in the most northern portions of the United States, opting for other varieties such as Norland, Viking and Kennebec for better yields in other areas around the United States.