By Heather Rhoades
Tomatoes are the most popular vegetables grown in the home garden. One of the reasons is that they are relatively easy to grow. But that does not mean that they grow without care. One of the most crucial parts of their care is knowing how much water do tomato plants need. Let’s take a look at how to properly water tomatoes.
Tips for Watering Tomato Plants
Water slowly, water deeply – The number 1 rule of watering tomatoes is to make sure that you go slow and easy. Never rush watering tomato plants. Use a drip hose or other forms of drip irrigation to deliver water to your tomato plants slowly.
Water regularly – How often should you water tomato plants? There is no hard and fast rule to this. It depends on how hot it is and if the plant is actively growing. A good rule of thumb is to supply water once every 2 – 3 days at the height of summer. Remember that water supplied by Mother Nature counts towards watering tomato plants in the garden. Once the weather cools and fruit has set, scale back watering to once a week.
Water at the roots – When watering tomatoes, make sure you get the water straight to the roots. Do not water from above as this can cause disease and pests to attack the plants. Watering tomato plants from above also encourages premature evaporation and unnecessarily wastes water.
Mulch – Using mulch help to keep water where the plants need it. Use mulch to slow down evaporation.
How Much Water Do Tomato Plants Need?
There is no one set amount for this. There are dozens of factors that can influence how much water a tomato plant needs at any given time. These factors can include age of plant, size of plant, type of soil, current temperatures and humidity, state of fruit and amount of fruit as well as weekly rainfall.
A general baseline is considered to be 2″ of water a week for a plant in the ground (more often for container plants). Due to all of the factors above, this amount may be too much or too little for your tomato plant. Instead, it would be wise to depend on a water gauge or an indicator plant to tell when you need to water your tomatoes. Impatiens make a good indicator plant to put near your tomatoes as impatiens wilt immediately when they have too little water, thus indicating that the tomatoes also need water.
Problems Related to Improper Watering of Tomatoes
Improper watering can lead to the following issues:
- Blossom end rot
- Stunted growth
- Reduced fruit production
- Susceptibility to pests
- Root loss
- Sub-quality fruit
Now that you know how often should you water tomato plants and how much water tomato plants need, you can water tomatoes in your garden with confidence and enjoy the fruits of your labor.