So you want to learn about how much water your tomatoes need? well, always know that there is no specific formula that you should follow regarding how often you should water your tomato plants. Based on your personal experience you will have to find your own ways to know how much water your tomatoes need on any given day. This lesson will help you understand what you need to do to know how much water to give your tomato plants at any given day.
Tomato plants are somewhat adaptive to various climatic changes and resistant to a greater extent to moderate drought. However, proper management is very important if you want to have a bumper harvest of good size and quality tomatoes.
Watering tomatoes is both a science and an art. Trial and error is one way to build up your skills and master the art. If you employ the right watering techniques, you can become a pro within one or two tomato farming seasons.
When, and how frequently, you should water your tomato plants depends on the variety, size and location.
A general benchmark is that a greenhouse tomato plant needs a little over one litre of water per day, more in hot and sunny conditions, less in cool and cloudy conditions. Plants appreciate daily, light watering much more than being drenched every once in a while. The latter will lead to cracking or splitting in the tomatoes' skins.
Your plants require more water during hot, dry spells and periods of active growth than they do during wet weather or when the plants are young. How well the soil drains and its water-holding capacity also affect the amount of water they need. Observing your tomato plants throughout the day gives you important clues to their watering needs. Healthy tomato plants that wilt excessively or soil that feels dry to the touch indicate that more water is needed.
In general, thoroughly water newly planted seeds or seedlings to remove any air gaps in the soil. You may have to water daily while the plants are young and depending on the temperature you may have to water twice.
When starting tomatoes from seed, the soil can dry out quickly since seedlings are typically in small containers or trays. Check soil daily to ensure it has not dried out. However, seedlings require very little water. Use a spray bottle to mist seedlings and keep just the top of the soil moist. If the soil becomes too wet, move the seedlings to an area with increased air flow and hold off on watering again until needed. Never let seedlings sit in a puddle of water. As seedlings begin to sprout and grow, they will need more water.
Allowing tomatoes to dry out and then clog them with water causes the fruit to suddenly swell, cracking the skin of the tomato and this allows fungal growth to get a hold, completely ruining the fruit. Water shortage will lead to reduced growth in general and reduced uptake of calcium in particular. Calcium deficiency causes Blossom End Rot. On the other hand, excessive irrigation will create anaerobic soil conditions and consequently cause root death, delayed flowering and fruit disorders.
Water Slowly around the tomato plants allowing sufficient time for the water to enter the soil, run away water is just a waste and it steals nutrients from the soil. Let the water soak in at least 5 – 6 inches of soil.
Water tomatoes only when they really need it. Maybe you need to water twice a day, to begin with, just moisten the soil (don't flood the plant). The roots need air too, so don't drown your plants.
Water at the stem rather than the leaves. Also avoid splashing water as the splashed water often carries soil particles to the stem and lower leaves of the tomato plants. These soil particle are very dangerous as they bring diseases such as blights to your tomatoes. Try not to water directly on the stem of the tomato plant but around it, this encourages roots to spread.
Every plant is different! The best way to give your tomatoes the care they need is to closely monitor the plants, the weather and the soil moisture. Keeping the soil too wet can be as bad, it can cause the roots to rot and help rot to develop at the base of stem. Water requirements will differ at various growth stages. The requirement increases from germination until beginning of fruit setting, reaching a peak during fruit development and then decreasing during ripening.
The experienced grower develops a feel for how much water he should give to the tomatoes. It will vary according to how developed and large the plant is, the more leaf area the more a plant will lose water through transpiration.