Watering Tomatoes - How and When to Water?

watering tomatoes with hose picture
Photo by Nick Harris1

Discover how and when to water tomatoes to grow healthy plants in your garden. How much water? What frequency is the best? Don't worry, watering tomatoes is easy if you follow this ultimate guide.

How to water tomatoes?

First of all, make sure you supply water at the base of the plant, close to the roots. Those sprinkling systems which spray the water from above are bad for your tomatoes as the drops weaken the plants and may cause blight (nasty fungal disease). Deeply soak the soil around the plants. You can use watering can or drip systems. Another method is using plastic bottles for watering as the self watering DIY system..

When to water tomatoes?

General rule of the thumb is to water tomatoes when soil is dry 1-1.5 inch in depth. If you are growing plants in the ground, it will be once in a few days (more frequently with a bottle method). You have to water more frequently if you grow plants in the upside down tomato planters, containers or pots, . Remember that clay pots dry much faster than the plastic ones.

During a hot season, watering even a few times a day may be necessary. Generally, it depends on the weather and the type of the soil. Mulch helps to keep the moisture in the ground and allows for less frequent watering.

Tip: if possible, water tomato plants in the morning, so that the soil can warm up before evening cool.

Watering problems

Not enough water - lack of moisture in the soil can inhibit growth of the tomato plant. In a more severe cases the plant will wither and die. Remember, wet soil helps your tomatoes to deal with hot weather. Plants in the containers are more sensitive and lack of water will cause faster and stronger reaction.

Infrequent watering weakens your tomatoes and may cause blossom end rot. If you water plants heavily after period of drought, fruits may crack.

Too much water rarely kills garden plants. They grow lush, with lots of leaves. However, only the few fruits develop. This decreases your harvest. These overwatering symptoms can also indicate over-fertilization.

As you see, rules for watering tomatoes are simple. Slight under- or overwatering won't harm the plants as long as you are consequent. Observe your tomatoes and adjust amount of water accordingly. Don't worry too much, gardening gets easier once you have some practice :)

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