Watering is an important part of growing potatoes. Using the right amount of water at the right time can make a big difference in your potato harvest, and it can help prevent common garden mistakes that can cause undersized or misshapen tubers.
When deciding how much to water potatoes, consider the following:
A plant's water needs are dependent on soil conditions and growth stages. It's best to water potatoes in the morning when they're cool and before the afternoon sun dries them out.
During the vegetative phase, which lasts about a month after planting, give young potatoes around an inch of water each week. This will keep the soil moist and encourage their roots to grow deep in search of moisture.
Once the plant produces foliage, you can increase the water to 1.5 inches each week. This will help the plant develop steady tuber production.
The amount of water applied depends on the prevailing weather conditions, the crop growth stage, and your soil's water holding capacity. Irrigate early in the season to maintain adequate soil moisture, and use a three-inch layer of mulch around your plants to reduce water loss through evaporation.
Over-watering can cause irregular tuber formation, promote rot, and increase the risk of disease. Under-watering, on the other hand, can lead to shriveled leaves and abnormal tuber growth. Whether you're growing potatoes in the ground or in a container, follow this advice to make sure your crop is healthy and producing at its best!