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Potato is a moisture-loving crop, which during a short growing season increases not only a large green mass, but also several kilograms of marketable tubers. To do this, she needs a lot of strength, which the plant can take exclusively from the top soil layer, because the roots of the potato deepen into it by a maximum of 30 cm.
Choosing the best time for watering potatoes is an important point for all summer residents. In addition, it is necessary to clearly understand how much water needs to be given to plants in a given period. Lack of water along with its overabundance can lead to loss of yield in this crop.
Do I need to water potatoes
The question of whether potatoes need regular watering cannot give a definite answer. Some summer residents with full confidence say that they are not used to watering potatoes, and their crops are no worse than those of their neighbors, who daily fill the ridges with this crop with water. In fact, watering potatoes is necessary in the same way as other vegetable plants. The only question is what soil is reserved for him.
On heavy and dense soils there is increased humidity, especially during the period of precipitation. If there are always puddles on the site, especially on paths or aisles, it is better not to water. In the event that the soil on the site with potatoes is sandy, and the year was not very generous with rainfall, you will have to water the potatoes throughout the growing season.
When to water potatoes
How best to water potatoes: all the ways
There are not many ways to water potatoes, and all of them can be divided into two large groups:
The first paragraph includes classical methods of delivering moisture to the roots of plants - watering cans, buckets or hoses, which the gardener will have to independently bring to each bush. The advantage of this method is the point effect. It is ideal for owners of small areas with potatoes. At the same time, potatoes can be watered not by a continuous method, but selectively, delivering moisture to specific plants.
Important to remember that aboutEach plant needs no more than 4 liters of water, and it should be delivered to the roots in portions, about one liter per nest. After complete absorption of moisture under an already watered bush, about a liter of water is again poured, and after absorption, the procedure is repeated. It will not be difficult to do this with buckets and watering cans, but it will be much easier to water the process with a hose, at the end of which a spray is put on (to avoid erosion of the soil at the roots). Having wetted the topsoil in one row or square, they start watering the other, and then again return to the already spilled area.
The disadvantage of this method is the inability to control how much water is poured under one bush.
The second group of methods includes sprinkler or drip irrigation, which spray liquid over plants, or deliver it directly to the roots (installation for drip irrigation of the root system). They are ideally suited for large landings and are especially valuable for those summer residents who cannot independently carry heavy buckets and watering cans.
Irrigation systems are installed on a site above the soil surface (irrigation) or are distributed in the form of networks on its surface or under it. The first option is suitable for irrigation before flowering potatoes and immediately after it, since there is a risk of pollen washing off, which will inevitably lead to a decrease in yield. In addition, it is important to choose the right droplet size: too large will compact the soil that the potato does not tolerate, and too small will simply not moisten the soil, settling on the leaves and evaporating. The second option is convenient in that drops of water will penetrate directly to the roots of the plants without compacting the soil and without affecting the formation of a crust on its surface.
There is only one drawback of using irrigation systems - the high cost of irrigation systems and additional equipment, for example, special timers and water dispensers.
- The first and most important rule of watering potatoes is the so-called "summer" water temperature. Plants from the nightshade family, to which this culture belongs, have very gentle suction roots, which begin to rot if they are watered with cold water. That is why it is better to warm water intended for irrigation during the day in the sun.
- Rule Two - the beginning of irrigation should coincide with the appearance of 10-centimeter shoots above the soil surface. At the time of planting, it is better to protect seed potatoes from excessive moisture, as the tuber or part of it can rot before it takes root. In general, at the stage of germination, soil moisture is sufficient for him.
- The need for moisture in potatoes increases sharply at the stage of budding. At this time, you need to increase the amount of moisture and the amount of watering. On average, under a bush, in the absence of precipitation, 5-6 liters of water are poured 2-3 times a week. After shedding flowers, watering is again reduced to 1 time per week, 4 liters of water per plant. The next period when the potatoes need regular watering is pouring tubers.
- Also important calculate the amount of water depending on the air temperature and humidity in the atmosphere. In dry and hot weather, the amount of watering is increased up to 6 times a month, and with the onset of cool weather they are reduced to 3-4 times. The volume of water in this case varies from 6 to 12 liters per plant.
A good tool for increasing soil moisture in the heat is loosening or mulching. For summer residents, these methods of water retention are called "dry watering." The method helps to reduce the amount of water poured under each bush and allows you to increase the periods between moisture charges.
You may also be interested in an article in which we talk about the technology of growing potatoes from seeds.
Signs of excess and lack of moisture
Both the lack and excess of moisture at different stages of potato growth negatively affect crop yields. Therefore, you need to carefully monitor the condition of the bushes in order to determine in time that they really need watering.
You can determine the lack of moisture under the potatoes by the following signs:
- a decrease in the turgor of leaves and stems, in which they droop, look lethargic and lighten;
- the stems stop growing, and the formed buds do not open;
- individual stems, usually the smallest, die completely.
An excess of moisture most often causes an outbreak of fungal diseases and decay of the underground part of the plant, which is expressed by the following symptoms:
- leaf blades wilt, as with a lack of moisture, but at the same time they look darker and slightly watery;
- on stems, especially in their lower part, weeping spots appear, sometimes they become covered with a bloom of white or gray color (mycelium);
- potato tubers remain small, begin to rot.
Particularly dangerous for potatoes is a lack or excess of moisture that occurred during the formation of tubers, simultaneously with flowering. During this period, it is already possible to lose 60% of the crop due to untimely and irregular watering, while drought or moisture stagnation during the tuber filling process reduces the quantity and quality of tubers by a maximum of 20%.
You can determine the right moment when the soil has dried out enough for the next watering, in a simple way - by putting your hand to a depth of 10 cm in the soil. If it is covered with dust, and not slightly moist clumps of soil, it is time to water the potatoes.
Drip irrigation of potatoes
Watering or not watering potatoes on a specific field, in a certain weather and soil composition can only be decided by the owner of the site, who daily monitors the state of planting. The line between the overabundance and lack of water in potatoes is very thin, but it can be tracked very easily.