Watering potatoes is crucial to get good quality and quantities of potatoes. Potato plants need 1 inch of water per week to reach their maximum potential. Without water, the potatoes will not reach full size. Additionally, they may be deformed or have a hard texture.
After the blossoms appear on potato plants, increase the water supply to 1 1/2 inches of water per week. Remember to take into account any rain that falls in the area when determining how much to water. In general, if no rain falls, give them a good deep soak every 7-10 days. Water gently until puddles are formed. You want to water enough so that the soil that is 4-6 inches deep is getting plenty of moisture. The only way to check this is to dig down into the soil with your fingers. Do this carefully as you don't want to accidentally dig up any potatoes. You want the soil to be moist, but not wet. If it's soggy, let it dry out for a couple of days and check again. If it's bone dry 4 inches deep, you need to water.
It's best to water your potatoes in the early morning hours. That way, the afternoon sun will evaporate any water that may remain on foliage. Potatoes are susceptible to several diseases. Wet foliage only encourages the development and spread of these diseases. A long soak once per week is better than several short watering sessions. This will allow the water to penetrate the soil and reach the roots of the plants.
A layer of mulch can be applied around potato plants, usually after they blossom. Grass clippings, straw, chopped up leaves and shredded newspapers all work well as mulch. This will allow the soil to retain moisture and will help prevent the growth of weeds.
Stop watering potatoes after the foliage turns yellow and begins to die off. This will allow the potatoes to mature to the right stage before harvesting. If you keep watering, the potatoes may mature and then rot in the ground before you dig them up.
Click on the following links to learn about fertilizing and harvesting potatoes.
Click here for information about fertilizing potatoes
Click here to learn about harvesting potatoes
Click here for some potato recipe ideas
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