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Potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are the edible starchy tubers belonging to the Nightshade family alongside tomatoes and bell peppers.
It has been reported that homegrown potato roots taste so much better than the industrially grown kind so why not give it a trial?
How much water do potatoes need to sprout till they reach maturity? The answer to this question and a lot more is communicated in this post.
Get a step-by-step guide to growing potatoes and watering them effectively to yield a bountiful crop right here!
How To Grow Potatoes
To grow potatoes, start by buying potato seeds. It is good to purchase certified disease-free potato seeds from reputable sellers to avoid future troubles.
The next thing to do is cut the potato seeds into smaller pieces and make sure you leave at least one eye bud per piece.
Before you put the potato seeds in the ground, you have to prepare the soil. Digging up the soil, loosening it and removing rocks is a necessary steps before planting seed potatoes.
Then proceed to dig a trench of 4-6 inches (10-15cm) in depth. The length of the trench will depend on the number of potato seeds that you have at hand.
The next trench must be spaced at least 28 inches (70cm) away from the previous one till the very last one.
Now, it’s time to plant the potatoes. Put the potato seeds inside the trench at a distance of at least 10 inches (25cm) from each other and then flatten the bed by covering the trenches with soil.
At this point, you should earth up your crops by creating ridges. Do this because growing potatoes on a flat surface will not help your potato plants thrive and produce a good yield.
Moreover, earthing up the soil between the trenches will help you to know where exactly your potato seeds are planted.
Do not water the potatoes until you see them sprouting above the soil.
About two months after planting, you should expect to see healthy and well-developed potato plants ready for harvesting.
Read More: How Much Water Do Plum Trees Need?
Types of Potatoes
Potatoes fall into three basic categories–starchy, waxy, and all-purpose. The different varieties that fall under each of them are given:
- Jewel yam
- Japanese sweet potato
- Hannah Sweet Potato
- Red Thumb
- Rose Finn
- French fingerling
- Russian banana
- Austrian Crescent
- Purple Majesty
- Norland Red
- Red Gold
- All Blue
- Yukon Gold
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How Much Rainwater Does My Region Receive?
To find out, check your local weather reports or use a rain gauge to see how much rain you are getting in your region.
This is important to know so that you can adjust the water you provide for your potatoes depending on how much rain falls.
While the potatoes are forming underground, about 6 to 8 weeks after planting, you should augment rainfall with watering or irrigation if you need to.
How Much Water Do Potatoes Need Per Day?
Potatoes do not need to be provided with water daily, instead, potatoes need between an inch and two inches of water each week.
You should aim to water your potato plants every 5-7 days. Note that potatoes thrive best in uniformly moistened soil.
In other words, these plants like it neither too wet nor too dry. Overhydration and dehydration are major risks if care is not taken.
Temperatures outdoors and the amount of rainfall you experience directly affect how often you water. When it’s hot and dry and there’s a lot of sunshine, the potatoes will need more water.
However, even in very dry conditions, they do not need daily watering. Don’t water your potato plants every day but do so weekly for best results.
At the end of the 7 days, go and see if your potatoes need more water. You will know by feeling how dry the soil is.
Just stick your finger into the soil to see if it’s still moist to the touch and then water your potatoes once the soil feels a bit dry.
The soil should never be allowed to dry out completely before you provide water again. To make things easier, note the day when you must see to it that the potatoes are watered.
How Do You Water Potato Plants?
Watering potato plants is not a tasking duty. Just follow the steps and your potatoes will come out beautifully.
To water your potato plants correctly, first provide water every 5 to 7 days. Don’t give them water every day and don’t wait for too long before you give them a drink.
In terms of quantity, give your plants 7.5 litres of water per square foot each time you water them. To provide 7.5 litres during each watering session, it is estimated that you water your potatoes with a soaking hose for 30 minutes.
This slowly provides the necessary water, allowing it to penetrate the soil and nourish the roots of the potatoes.
To lay more emphasis, once the soil begins to get dry, it is time to water again and should remain moist but not waterlogged. Avoid over-saturating the soil, especially right after planting as this is the time they are prone to rot.
To add to it, avoid spraying the leaves and stems when you water your plants because wet leaves can lead to fungal diseases, insect infestations and other plant health problems. You must get drip lines and drip irrigation if you want to grow and harvest healthy potatoes.
Do Potatoes Like Wet or Dry Soil?
Slightly moist soil is preferable to wet soil when the potatoes have just been planted and even older potato plants like moist soil better than dry soil.
A little moisture is all that is required to help your potato seeds sprout, too much and they will start rotting in the ground.
Increase the number of times you water them a little while after the potatoes sprout and instead of water every time, water deeply and less regularly once your plants have started growing.
Do not water excessively especially if the soil is heavy and does not drain fast.
Read Also: How Much Water Does Basil Need?
Can You Overwater Potatoes?
The chances of giving too much water to your potato plants are the greatest right before they begin to sprout. Potato seeds are likely to rot in the ground if exposed to too much moisture at the early stages of their development.
Yellowing leaves are another sign of potatoes that receive too much water.
Early in the growth process, over-watering can result in abnormally shaped tubers while later in the season, it increases the likelihood of powdery scab and lenticel growth.
Excessive watering can also crack potato roots open later. Since it is easy to overwater potato plants, strive to keep the soil moist all the time by adding mulch so that you won’t have to provide water now and then.
You can check the moisture level by pressing your finger into the depth of the soil. Moisture on your finger is a good sign and if it comes out dry, water the potatoes.
A useful piece of equipment to check the level of soil moisture is now available. A soil moisture meter can be a wonderful way of confirming your knowledge of whether you need to water your soil or not.
If you do decide to get your own, it is recommended that you use it as a guide, as they usually tell you if the soil is dry, damp, or wet accurately.
As you become more used to check your soil, there will be less need to have a soil moisture meter. Eventually, you will be able to dig in 6-8 inches with your hand and you will be able to tell if the soil needs watering or not.
How Do You Know If Potatoes Need Water?
In the heat of summer, under-watering causes potatoes to wrinkle and shrink. If you’re experiencing dry weather where you live and you have not watered your potatoes in more than 1 week, then it is likely that they are dehydrated.
Check soil moisture to make sure your potato plants need water. Use your finger or a soil moisture meter to check.
The soil should feel moist but not sodden. If using a moisture meter, water as soon as the soil falls below the area marked “wet”.
In most areas, it’s fine to water established potato plants on a set schedule and adjust the amount of water you provide according to weather conditions. Adjust your watering schedule as needed to suit the conditions.
Water your plants more frequently when temperatures exceed 23°C. Reduce how often you water if your yard receives rain a lot and skip the weekly watering session if you experience more than 2 inches of rain during that time.
Do Potato Plants Require Lots of Water?
Potato plants don’t need a lot of water to thrive during the growing season. However, they prefer moist soil to extremely dry soil.
Pointers to achieve the right water balance for your potato plants:
1. How much water do potatoes need? Potato plants require 1 to 2 inches of water per week during the growing season, every 5 to 7 days.
Give your plants 7.5 litres of water per square foot during each round of watering.
2. You can supply 7.5 litres of water for 30 minutes of irrigation with a drip hose
3. Ensure to check soil moisture before watering your plants to avoid overwatering.
4. Potatoes need water when the soil dries out. Once temperatures rise above 23°C, you may need to water more frequently to keep the soil from drying out.
Potatoes are resilient plants that thrive in many soil types. With just a little soil and water control, you can grow your healthy root plant.
When should I stop watering my potato plants?
After 90 to 120 days the vines will begin to turn yellow and die back. This is a natural sign that they are almost ready to harvest.
Stop watering the plants to allow the skins to dry out and heal for about 2 weeks before harvest.
Frequently Asked Questions
When should I stop watering potatoes?
Stop watering your potatoes 2 to 3 weeks before you dig them up.
How much sunlight do potatoes need?
Potatoes need about 6 to 8 hours of full sun every day to grow to their full size.
How long do potatoes take to grow?
Small potatoes can take 10 weeks to grow but full-sized potatoes take up to 14 weeks.
Do you water potatoes after planting?
No, you shouldn’t water them until they poke through the soil.
When are potatoes ready to harvest?
About 100 to 120 days from planting.
How much water do potatoes need? Potato plants don’t need water every day, however, watering weekly produces better results. Just give 1 to 2 inches of water per week to harvest big, firm, potatoes.
You should water your potatoes once every 5 to 7 days with 7.5 litres of water per watering session. Let your hose run for 30 minutes to give your potatoes all the water they need.
Potatoes are most at risk of overwatering when they are in the newly planted stage and seed potatoes will rot if exposed to too much moisture. The roots of established potato plants can also be damaged by too much water.
Before watering, check the soil to make sure it is moist to the touch