Yukon Gold Potatoes (5 Things To Know About Growing Them)

Yukon Gold potatoes are popular with diners for eating – and they are popular with gardeners for growing. To avoid the pitfalls, it helps to know some of the key facts about Yukon Gold potatoes.

So, what is a Yukon Gold potato? Yukon Gold is an early potato variety that matures in 65 to 85 days. It has thin, yellow skin and dense, buttery flesh. The tubers tend to set high on the plant, so pay careful attention to hilling during the season. Avoid planting too far apart to avoid large tubers and hollow heart.

There are lots of places you can buy Yukon Gold potatoes, but the key is to find certified disease-free seed potatoes to avoid late blight and other diseases.

Yukon Gold potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes are popular with diners and gardeners for their flavor, texture, and short time to harvest.

In this article, we’ll talk about growing Yukon Gold potatoes and how to avoid common problems. We’ll also mention some information to help you get the best harvest possible – and to store it properly for the long term.

Let’s get started.

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What Is A Yukon Gold Potato?

Yukon Gold is an early potato variety, meaning that it matures faster than other types. Generally, it only takes 65 to 85 days to get Yukon Gold potatoes.

Yukon Gold Potatoes
Yukon Gold potatoes are an early variety, meaning they mature faster than other potato varieties.

A Yukon Gold potato has thin yellow skin and dense, buttery flesh. The table below gives a summary of this potato variety.

TraitYukon Gold
OriginUniversity of Guelph,
Ontario, Canada
(released 1981)
White Or
Light Violet
Yellow (thin)
Yellow (dense,
Large Round-Oval
Days To
65 to 85
SunlightFull (6+ hours of
direct sun per day)
3 to 9
Soil pH
4.8 to 5.4
Height At
18 to 24 inches
(1.5 to 2 feet)
Width At
12 inches
(1 foot)
12 to 15 inches
(1 to 1.25 feet)
18 to 36 inches
(1.5 to 3 feet)

The Yukon Gold potato variety also has a few quirks that make it unique.

For one thing, Yukon Gold plants tend to produce fewer but larger tubers than other potato varieties. This makes them more susceptible to hollow heart.

There is also a higher risk of getting green potatoes, due to tubers that set high on the plant, close to the soil surface. This means that you need to be extra-vigilant when it comes to hilling (see below).

If you want to get started growing your own Yukon Gold potatoes, the first thing you need to do is to buy seed potatoes.

Where To Buy Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes

You can buy Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes from the following seed companies:

Be sure to pay attention to the price per pound and the size of the order you are getting. A good rule to remember is that each pound of seed potatoes will give you around 8 plants (if each seed piece is 2 ounces).

How To Grow Yukon Gold Potatoes (Planting Guide)

After you buy your Yukon Gold seed potatoes, you can wait until they sprout (or not). I like to wait until they sprout (at least a little bit) to ensure viability.

Either way, you will need to cut your seed potatoes into pieces for planting. Generally, a piece should weigh about 2 ounces.

cut russet potato with eyes
When you cut a potato into pieces for planting, make sure to get at least one eye per piece.

When you cut a seed potato, make sure there is at least one eye per piece (two is better). This can be tricky, since most eyes are at the bud end of Yukon Gold potato.

After cutting your seed potatoes into pieces, leave them out to “cure” for a week. This gives the cut parts a chance to dry out and scab over, which prevents disease after planting.

When To Plant Yukon Gold Seed Potatoes

If you want to play it safe, wait until 2 weeks after the last frost date to plant Yukon Gold Seed potatoes. This minimizes the chance of a late spring frost damaging your plants (or killing them back to the ground).

The longer you wait after the last frost date to plant, the less risk of cold damage to your plants.

If you don’t mind taking a little more risk, you can plant 2 to 3 weeks before the last frost date in your area. This might be a good idea if you have a short growing season (since hard frost in the fall is just as much a threat as hard frost in the spring).

You can find the last frost date for your area (look up by city or zip code) with this tool from the Old Farmer’s Almanac.

Example 1: Yukon Gold Potato Planting Date (Boston, Massachusetts)

Using the tool linked above, we find that the last spring frost date for Boston, MA is April 8. To be safe, we will wait until 2 weeks after the last frost to plant our seed potato pieces.

So, we will plant on April 22 (2 weeks is 14 days, and 8 + 14 = 22). If the potatoes take 77 days (11 weeks) to mature, then we would expect potatoes on July 8 (8 days in April + 31 days in May + 30 days in June + 8 days in July = 77 days).


Example 2: Yukon Gold Potato Planting Date (Atlanta, Georgia)

Using the tool linked above, we find that the last spring frost date for Atlanta, GA is March 23. We will take a little risk and plant our seed potato pieces 2 weeks before the last frost date.

So, we will plant on March 9 (2 weeks is 14 days, and 23 – 14 = 9). If the potatoes take 70 days (10 weeks) to mature, then we would expect potatoes on May 18 (22 days in March + 30 days in April + 18 days in May = 70 days).


Yukon Gold Potato Plant Spacing

When planting your Yukon Gold seed potato pieces, space them 12 to 15 inches apart. The University of Minnesota suggests more space between plants for fewer but larger potato tubers.

If your potatoes that are too big and/or they get hollow heart, then consider spacing the plants closer together.

Yukon Gold Potato Plant
Space your Yukon Gold potato plants 12 to 15 inches apart (leave less space to get fewer but larger tubers).

If you have more than 1 row, leave 18 to 36 inches between rows. More room between rows gives you more space to walk between rows for plant inspection, watering, fertilizing, hilling, pest management, and anything else you need to do during the season.

Yukon Gold Potato Planting Depth

Due to the high set of the tubers on the plant, the University of Nebraska suggests a planting depth of 6 inches for Yukon Gold potatoes. Remember that the sprouted eyes should be facing up.

There are a few different planting methods you can use:

  • Dig Individual Holes – dig a hole of the proper depth for each seed potato piece. Make sure to leave enough space between holes (12 to 15 inches, as detailed earlier). Put a seed piece in each hole, and then bury them up to the soil surface.
  • Dig A Trench – dig a trench of the proper depth along the row where you are planting potatoes. Then, place the seed pieces at the bottom of the trench with the proper spacing. Finally, rake soil over the trench to cover the seed pieces up to the soil surface.
  • Early Hilling – instead of waiting until later in the season to hill your potatoes, you can start now. Just place the seed pieces on the soil surface at the proper spacing along your row. Then, use soil to cover them to the proper depth (6 inches for Yukon Gold potatoes).

Watering Yukon Gold Potato Plants

When you water potato plants, soak the soil once or twice per week. Dig down with your fingers (or a trowel) – if the soil is only wet an inch or two down, keep watering.

Water your plants more often in hot, dry, or windy conditions (when plants lose more moisture through their leaves and soil dries up faster). A drip irrigation system can help to make watering easier and more passive.

drip irrigation emitter
A drip irrigation system makes watering potato plants easier and saves water.

Water sandy soil more often, since it drains faster than clay soil. If you have trouble with poor soil drainage, this article has some tips to help with that.

Avoid over watering late in the season. After the tubers form, they are susceptible to rot if the soil stays too wet for too long.

Fertilizing Yukon Gold Potato Plants

Potatoes are “heavy feeders”, so they need more fertilizer than other plants. To avoid burning plants or damaging seed potatoes, use side-dressing instead of applying fertilizer directly over the seed potatoes or plants.

ammonium nitrate
Potato plants need more fertilizer than other types of plants. Use side dressing to avoid burning seed potatoes or the plants themselves.

Side dressing just means scattering fertilizer along the side of the row. You can water it in afterwards to get it deeper into the soil – eventually, the potato plant’s roots will find their way to the fertilizer.

Hilling Yukon Gold Potato Plants

Potato plants will still grow without hilling – but hilling is a very helpful practice with several benefits.

First, it provides stability as the plant grows taller. It also minimizes the growth of weeds near the plant.

Hilling potato plants prevents weeds nearby.

Hilling protects the plant from late spring frost, especially if you planted early. Finally, hilling prevents green potatoes by keeping the tubers out of sunlight.

This is especially important for Yukon Gold potatoes, since the tubers set high on the plant. So, keep careful watch and hill the plants again if you notice potatoes at or near the soil surface.

You can use straw, peat moss, compost, or soil for hilling. Just make sure to leave some of the plant above ground after hilling (the leaves still needs sunlight for photosynthesis!)

You can learn more about hilling (plus how and why to do it) here.

Straw is a great choice for hilling potato plants.

Yukon Gold Potato Plant Height

At maturity, Yukon Gold potato plants will end up 18 to 24 inches tall (1.5 to 2 feet). They don’t grow as tall as some other potato varieties.

After hilling your potato plant 2 or 3 times during the season (4 to 6 inches per time), you may have more than half of the plant’s height covered with soil.

Yukon Gold Potato Problems (Pests & Diseases)

There are many potential problems with potato plants, but two common ones are Colorado Potato Beetles and Late Blight.

Colorado Potato Beetles

Colorado Potato Beetle is a destructive insect pest that affects potato plants. The adult beetle lays yellow to orange eggs on the undersides of leaves.

Colorado potato beetle
Colorado Potato Beetles and their larvae can defoliate a potato plant – fast!

After the eggs hatch, they become larvae and feed on the leaves. They can completely defoliate a plant in short time, eating all of its leaves.

Colorado Potato Beetles also feeds on other nightshade plants (like tomatoes and peppers). You can learn more about Colorado Potato Beetles here.

Late Blight Of Potato

Potato blight (late blight) is a plant disease that can devastate your entire potato crop. It is caused by an oomycete called Phytophthora infestans.

late blight potato tuber 2
Late blight affects all parts of a potato plant, including tubers. It can destroy an entire crop.

The disease causes brown or black spots on potato leaves, stems, and tubers. Late blight can also infect tomatoes and other plants in the nightshade family.

You can learn more about late blight (and how to prevent it) here.

Harvesting Yukon Gold Potatoes

When a potato plant’s vines start to turn yellow and fall over, the tubers are ready for harvest. According to the University of Florida, potato tubers are ready for harvest two weeks after the vines die back. This will happen well after the potato plants produce flowers.

Yukon Gold Potato Flower
Yukon Gold potato plants will produce flowers first, then the vines die back later, and a little after that it will be time to harvest.

If you want “new” potatoes, you can dig up potatoes early, when they are still small. The advantage is that you get to harvest sooner, but the drawback is that the potatoes could have grown much larger.

Do not leave your harvested potato tubers out in the sun. Put them in a shaded place until they are dry.

You can brush the dirt off with a soft-bristled brush if you like. Avoid washing them until use.

Use a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt from your potato tubers.

If you cut or bruise any potatoes during harvest, set them aside in a separate pile and use them first. Damaged tubers will go bad sooner in storage.

Storing Yukon Gold Potatoes

To make your potatoes last even longer in storage, follow the principles below:

  • Stop watering right before harvest to toughen up the tubers before storage.
  • Wait until your potato vines die way back before harvesting.
  • Dig your potatoes carefully. Avoid any scraping, bruising, or cutting.
  • Put aside damaged potatoes and eat them first. Store undamaged tubers separately.
  • Do not leave harvested potatoes out in the sun. Otherwise, they will turn green (due to chlorophyll) and toxic (due to solanine).
  • Clean (but do not wash) your potatoes before storage. Use a soft-bristled brush to clean them off. If you want to wash them, dry them well (a fan and then paper towels might help) before putting them into storage.
  • Cure potatoes for 7 to 10 days in a dark, humid area with good ventilation.
  • Store potatoes at 40 to 45 degrees Fahrenheit in a dark place. Higher humidity will prevent shriveling – a humidity of 90 to 95% is ideal for potato tuber storage.
watering can
Stop watering potato plants before harvest to toughen up the tubers for prolonged storage.


Now you know a bit more about Yukon Gold potatoes and how best to grow them. You also know about the things to look out for to avoid problems with this variety.

I hope you found this article helpful.  If so, please share it with someone who can use the information.

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Jon M

Hi, I'm Jon. Let's solve your gardening problems, spend more time growing, and get the best harvest every year!

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