No, of course not. I didn't even panic all that much when, a few years back, I neglected to specify when I wanted onion plants delivered, and the grower in Texas shipped them in February. Sorry, whatever your regional shipping guidelines say, Maryland really isn't the South. I don't care where the Mason-Dixon line is; I am not putting onion plants out in the snow. So I potted them up in a big planter and stuck it under a window in the mudroom for a month until it was warm and dry enough outside to plant. They did fine.
So, storing potatoes for a month isn't too much of a challenge. I've opened the bags to allow good air circulation, and am storing them in a cool dark room. When we're getting close to planting time, I'll bring them out into real room temperature to wake up a bit. They may sprout a little, but that's not a problem. In fact, pre-sprouting on purpose is recommended to get the plants off to a faster start. Here are the pre-sprouting instructions I received with my package from the Maine Potato Lady:
"About 4-6 weeks before planting, warm the seed in a dark area for about two weeks. Then spread the tubers out in flats or crates in a single layer, and store in a warm medium-lighted place (but out of direct sunlight) for another 2-4 weeks. The warmth triggers the bud end to produce sprouts, and the medium light keeps the sprouts short and stubby."
I'm not even sure I have time to do that! So getting potatoes early is no big deal. And if you haven't even ordered your potatoes yet, better hurry while you still have a good selection at your source of choice. Don't plant potatoes from the grocery store: they may have been treated with anti-sprouting chemicals, and they are not guaranteed disease-free.
|Red Maria (large), Purple Sun (medium), and Red Thumb (small)|
*"Seed" potatoes are not really seeds but tubers that sprout from "eyes" and grow new plants. Potatoes do produce seeds; if you've ever seen a potato plant grow something that looks like a small green tomato after flowering, that (inedible) fruit contains true seeds. You can experiment with creating new varieties by planting these.