During flowering, the intensive formation of tubers occurs, the number and size of which largely depend on the conditions in which the flowered bush grew. During this important period, potatoes need watering, top dressing and protection from Colorado potato beetles.
We will consider all three aspects of care, as well as separately analyze cases why potatoes do not bloom or flowers appear a second time in a season. Often it depends on the variety, but sometimes the intervention of a gardener is required.
Features of flowering potatoes. Man only needs tubers. Even tops, which absorb a lot of nutrients from the soil, are perceived as a necessary addition that has to be endured. What can we say about flowers: they do seem to be useless parasites, eagerly drawing out all the best from the plant. So the theory was born that you can significantly increase the yield if you remove the flowers and upper leaves during the budding period.
But potatoes are a complex living organism with their own breeding program, for which tubers are just a backup option for preserving the population. The bush reacts to the removal of buds and upper leaves as a threat to existence.
The injured plant will either be ill in a mild form, or it will form even more buds to make up for the loss. Naturally, the new flowers necessary for the development of trace elements will be taken away from the tubers. A classic situation in which the avaricious pays twice. New buds will not appear if you remove already pollinated flowers. But then the procedure does not make sense at all, since the flowers have already absorbed useful substances.
There is another danger. On the potato field there is sure to be at least one diseased bush. Cutting buds and leaves, the gardener does not disinfect tools and gloves after processing each plant, therefore, through open wounds on the shoots, it infects them with fungal infections. So because of the desire to slightly increase the crop, you can lose a significant part of it.
In addition, it was experimentally established that one or two more tubers are actually formed on bushes with removed flowers than on plants that have naturally bloomed. But if the bushes are not injured, the potatoes grow larger and have a more regular shape.
It is advisable to remove the buds only when growing a rare variety for planting material, when the number of tubers is more important than their size.
Potato flowering rate
If you see abundantly flowering bushes - most likely in front of you - any of the old proven varieties. Recently, breeders have bred varieties that bloom very little or even lack flowers. Ovaries on such bushes are extremely rare. For example, the superearly varieties of Rocco and Mariella do not bloom. Variety Spring in a dry summer may also not bloom, and with normal humidity it blooms very quickly. Bushes planted in the shade do not bloom well.
Potato bloom does not directly affect the formation and growth of tubers, but the absence of flowers often indicates that the gardener made a mistake and the crop is at risk.
In addition to the characteristics of the variety and the shading of the plot, there are two more reasons why potatoes do not bloom:
- plants lack moisture. If urgent watering is not organized, the tubers will no longer form and grow under the ground, as a result, the harvest harvested in autumn will be meager;
- in the soil - excess moisture and nitrogen fertilizers. In this case, powerful stems, instead of being covered with buds, lie down. It is necessary to stop watering, cut off the tops of the tops (about a quarter of the length of the stems), then add ash to the soil (a glass per 1 meter of beds), loosen the ground and lightly spud the bushes.
In wet weather, after a long drought, it occasionally happens that the potato blooms a second time. The fact is that due to the heat, the tubers cease to grow in size, and when heavy rains come, the “second spring” comes to the potato and the bush is trying to make up for lost time. Watering is better prevention of this problem. Also, the bushes from which the buds were removed can bloom repeatedly.
Watering potatoes during flowering
During budding and flowering, potato bushes need moisture. If there is no rain, then when the first buds appear, water the plants abundantly: at the rate of at least 3 liters of water per bush. The need for watering is easy to determine: it is enough to touch the ground at a depth of 5-6 cm from the surface. If it is wet, it is better to postpone watering, since excessive dampness can damage young tubers.
Potatoes are watered in the morning or in the evening. On the second day after this, you need to loosen the soil and spud the bushes, so that the roots will receive not only water, but also oxygen. Two weeks later, if the soil dries again, you can water the beds again.
In dry weather, after watering, it is advisable to cover the ground with mulch: dry hay or straw. The procedure does not take so much time and effort, but you do not have to worry about the fact that in the fall, the dug up tubers will be small or cracked.
Topping flowering potatoes
Emerging tubers need enhanced nutrition. Typically, two basal top dressing of potatoes is carried out during flowering:
- at the beginning of budding to speed up flowering (per one meter of beds in the soil make a mixture of 3 tablespoons of ash with a teaspoon of potassium sulfate);
- 4–5 days after the beginning of mass flowering in order to accelerate the growth of tubers (2 tablespoons of superphosphate - per linear meter of the bed).
Also at the beginning of budding, foliar top dressing can be done. Approximate options for 10 liters of water (per one hundred square meters of potato field):
30-40 g of urea;
50 g of potassium sulfate;
10–20 g of ammonium nitrate;
mix 2 g of copper sulfate, 10 g of potassium salt, 40 g of ammonium nitrate, 200 g of superphosphate.
Protecting flowering potatoes from Colorado potato beetles
The problem is that potatoes during flowering should not be sprayed with chemicals to combat Colorado potato beetles. Pests will have to be destroyed manually. In addition to mechanical collection in a bucket, folk remedies will help:
- sift a kilogram of ash, mix with 10 l of water, boil when it cools down - add 40-50 g of laundry soap crushed on a fine grater;
- dust the bushes with cornmeal.
Any of these funds can be used approximately every 7-10 days. If there are too many pests, flowering potatoes should be sprayed with a biological product. Suitable, for example, “Bitoxibacillin”, “Akarin” or “Fitoverm”.
Potato care after flowering
When the potato blooms, it is impossible to water the bushes: excessive humidity is a favorable environment for the development of late blight. Feeding is also not necessary.
While the tops are green, they are sprayed several times with some folk remedy for Colorado potato beetles. Strong chemicals can be used no later than 2 months before harvesting. Therefore, such funds are suitable only for later varieties.