How to Water Potato Plants? (Complete Guide)
Potato plants are easy to sprout, grow, and take care of. Still, that doesn’t stop them from being a little unique when it comes to the planting process. Watering potato plants is an important activity when growing potatoes. So, how to water potato plants?
You should water potato plants enough to keep the soil moist at a depth of the planted sprouts. That means that the soil should be moist 6-8 inches deep. To do that, you need to give your potato plants 1-2 inches of water every week.
How to Water Potato Plants?
The ideal technique to water potato plants is to keep the soil moist all time. That doesn’t mean stagnating your soil. It only means that you shouldn’t wait for your soil to go completely dry.
Normally, we dip our fingers inside the soil to test how dry or moist it is. However, this won’t work with potatoes. Potatoes differ from the majority of other plants because they are planted 6-8 inches (15-20 cm) which is somewhat deep.
If you wait until your finger detects that the soil is starting to dry, the soil around the potatoes would have already dried a while ago. That isn’t good for your potatoes.
To avoid that, you need to make sure that the soil is moist deep down at the 6-inch mark. You can detect the moisture in deep soil levels using a simple wooden dowel.
Mark the dowel at the 6-inch mark and then insert it down into the soil. Ideally, the dowel should be covered with water near the mark. Once the dryness reaches the 6-inch mark, it’s time to water your potatoes.
You can also use a moisture meter if you want more accurate results.
How Much Water do Potatoes need?
Potatoes need different amounts of water depending on the growth stage. Potatoes generally need 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm) of water every week.
The quantity of water you use depends on how many potatoes you planted and how many of them are under the same bed of soil. For example, if you have 3 potatoes planted in a small area of soil, you won’t need much water to get those 1-2 inches.
On the other hand, larger areas that contain higher numbers of planted potatoes will need a lot more water. Keep in mind that you’ll need to reduce the amount of water you use if you live in a rainy area.
How Often do I Water Potato Plants?
How often you water your potato plants depends on the current stage of growth. In general, you need to water your potato plants every 4-6 days.
Potato plants need to stay 90-120 days in the soil before they need harvesting. The water requirements of potatoes differ slightly throughout those days. To be more specific, there are four phases while planting. Each phase has a slightly different water requirement.
The first phase is right after planting and up to the first 30 days. During that phase, the water requirements are low. You should water your potato plants once every 5-7 days.
The second phase is from 30-60 days. It’s when the tubers start to form, and you need to water every 5-6 days.
The third phase is from 60-90 days, and water is critical for forming the tuber bulks. Basically, this is when potatoes start to get larger in size. During that third month, you need to water your potatoes every 4-5 days.
The last month is when watering will start to seem useless. You should still water your potatoes once every 6 days, but the vines will start to die nevertheless. That’s when you should prepare for harvesting.
When should I Stop Watering my Potato Plants?
You should stop watering your potato plants when the vines stop growing and responding to nutrients. In other words, once the vines begin to turn yellow and die, you should stop watering and get ready to harvest. This should be 90-120 days after planting.
Keep in mind that the vines won’t immediately stop responding to water. Not all of the vines will start to turn yellow and die around the 90-day mark. Instead, they will ‘begin’ to turn yellow after 90 days, but some of the vines will stay green.
Once you no longer see green vines, then your potato plant has finished its growth and is ready to be harvested.
Do you Water Potatoes right after Planting?
You should water your potatoes right after planting them. However, the amount of water you use shouldn’t be as much as you would use in later stages.
The first couple of weeks after planting require less water than the rest of the planting period. That’s because the sprouts still have a bit of nutrition in the tubers and the size of the plant isn’t very water demanding.
Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t use water at all. You still need to water your potatoes once every 6 days. It’s just not as critical as the following phases.
Once your potato plants emerge on the solid after a month or so, you should start to increase the frequency of the watering. Additionally, you should refrain from using overhead watering.
In short words, overhead watering is when you water your plant from a level above it or ‘over its head.’ You shouldn’t do that with potato vines, especially early on, because of how weak and easily damaged they are.
Instead, use the drip irrigation technique to safely water your potatoes. The simplest form of drip irrigation has a punctured hose over the soil. Once the water runs through the hose, it will apply water to the soil without harming your fragile vines.
We can summarize how to water potato plants in two simple sentences; prevent the soil from going dry and make sure that you provide it with around 1-2 inches of water every week.
This should give your potato plant the amount of water it needs until the vines start to go yellow and signal the harvesting time.