Tomatoes are widely regarded by many as one of the most popular vegetables to grow, especially if you have a home garden. After all, tomatoes are incredibly versatile, and despite being categorized as a fruit, it actually makes for an excellent finish on any kind of food.
Needless to say, there’s really nothing quite like a few sliced tomatoes to finish off a sandwich.
But, while the tomato plant is relatively easy to grow and care for, there are quite a few things that you should know about the plant. First and foremost, you need to understand that there are quite a few mistakes that most people make when it comes to growing tomatoes in their home garden.
Tomatoes are grown all across the globe, and tomato cultivation itself is a pretty common process, not only because tomatoes are easy to grow, but also because tomatoes can be used in so many different kinds of dishes.
However, there are a few important facts that you should know about growing tomatoes in your garden. Here are some key things that you should know.
Important Facts About Growing Tomatoes
First of all, you need to know that tomatoes don’t just grow anywhere or any time. Tomatoes cannot be grown in most types of soils, and they don’t grow throughout the course of the year either.
There are several varieties of tomatoes that you can choose from, so it’s best if you first get in touch with a friend who knows gardening, or from a neighbor. This will allow you to figure out the best kind of tomatoes to grow within the region.
You also need to understand that sunlight is important for tomatoes. Tomatoes need a lot of sunlight throughout the course of the year if they are going to grow properly, so you need to make sure that your plants are kept in an area that receives a lot of sunlight. Make sure they are kept in a sunny spot, and it shouldn’t be that hot either.
Now, let’s talk about nutrition. You need to know that it doesn’t matter just how well you water the plants, if they don’t get an adequate amount of nutrition, there’s really not a lot you can do about it. One of the clearest signs of bad nutrition is the presence of yellow leaves.
Watering tomatoes is a skill, because you have to figure out exactly how much water your plants need. It’s really not rocket science, and it’s not difficult to master. In this article, we will talk about how to water your tomato plants in the best possible manner.
First, let’s talk about a few watering techniques that you can use.
To begin with, you need to know that watering tomatoes isn’t really as difficult as you might think. Trial and error is arguably the best way to figure out how your tomatoes should be watered. But, there are a few guidelines that you need to keep in mind.
You need to make sure that you water slowly around the plants. This would allow for sufficient time for the water to enter into the soil conveniently. You should know that runaway water is just wastage, and more importantly, it also steals nutrients from the soil as well.
You need to make sure that the water is able to soak into the soil for at least five to six minutes, so take your time when watering the plant.
Then, you also need to make sure that you water the tomatoes only when they really require it. In some cases, you might have to water the plant twice a day, or in some cases, you might just have to moisten the soil.
You also need to know the importance of providing adequate amounts of air to the roots, so there’s no need for you to drown the plants.
When watering the plants, make sure you direct the water at the stem instead of the leaves. In fact, keep the water around the stem, and don’t directly water on it, as this will encourage the roots to spread considerably.
Tomato roots tend to spread further into the ground, so you have to make sure that you allow them to spread.
If you are going to use a hose or a bucket, or any other manual method of watering the plants, you need to make sure that you water them early in the day.
Watering the plants at night is a bad idea, as the temperatures tend to fall, and the soil will become moist, which ultimately increases the chances of your tomato plants contracting a myriad of other diseases.
Adding mulch to your plants is also a wise idea. Mulch usually serves as a source of nutrition and also regulates the level of moisture in the plant, so you might want to consider giving this a bit of thought as well.
You need to understand that the main purpose for which you are watering your plants is so that there is an adequate amount of water available for the plant to sustain themselves. Watering the plants adequately also enables them to perform essential physiological activities.
Therefore, when you are watering the plants, you should do it in a slow manner. This will allow for enough time to let the water actually seep into the soil. If you want, one of the best things that you can do is to come up with your own drip irrigation system, which is actually pretty easy to set up.
Drip irrigation systems save a great deal of water and are usually preferred by frequent growers.
Water Them Regularly
Another thing that you need to do is water your plants on a regular basis. You need to make sure that you provide water on a regular basis to your plants.
Again, you should know that there isn’t an exact formula for watering your tomato plants. You will have to work this out based on experience, so the best thing that you can do is check the soil on a regular basis and then see when it starts to become dry.
If you notice the soil getting dry on a daily basis, there’s no reason to be afraid. All you need to do is try a bit of mulching or maybe use a different method for watering the plants.
In certain situations, you will have to water the plants just once a day, and in other scenarios, you might end up watering the plants several times a day.
There is also a chance that the plant might begin to droop sometimes during mid-day. There’s no reason for you to worry, because they are probably going to get back to normal by the time the sun begins to set.
The best thing that you can do is check the soil on a regular basis, and estimate when it’s turning dry so that you can water them again.
Plants that droop in the sun don’t usually do so because of a lack of water; it’s more of a reflex mechanism so that they can reduce the amount of surface area that is exposed to the sun. Needless to say, you don’t need to worry much about this.
Water Them at the Roots
Most people have a habit of watering the plants with the help of a hose.
There’s also a pretty strong chance here that when you use a hose, you might end up watering the leaves of the plant instead. Many people are under the impression that by watering the leaves, it might make the plant look a bit better.
If you do want to water the leaves, you should make it a point to do so before the sun rises. There’s a strong chance that the water supply you are using isn’t pure: it might contain a bit of fertilizer or it might be hard water, so if that’s the case, you need to stop watering the leaves right away.
Watering the plants also increases the likelihood of the plant contracting a range of diseases. You should ideally water the leaves at your own risk.
When watering the plants, you should water just a few inches away from the stem. You should ideally keep a bit of distance, as that promotes the roots from spreading.
Moreover, when you keep a bit of distance, it prevents the soil from washing away from near the stem, and that’s incredibly important.
The Best Time to Water the Plant Is at Dawn
A lot has been said and written about the ideal time to water your plants, and ideally, the best thing to do is water the plants at dawn.
The answer for that is simple: increased exposure to moisture usually poses a threat, and could prove to be the ideal condition which could allow diseases to fester.
But, when you water the plant at dawn, you are providing a whole day for the excessive water to evaporate, especially those droplets that are caught on the stem or the leaves.
But, when you water at dusk or in the night time, the water isn’t able to evaporate on time. Even if the leaves seem droopy, you should avoid watering it at night.
Instead, when you water the plant at dawn, it is able to start the process of photosynthesis, and is able to grow in a quicker and better fashion.
We have talked about how to water your tomato plants, but it’s also important that we give time to the process of mulching.
Mulching is basically an organic layer of leaves that is spread on top of the soil, and it offers a range of different benefits. For starters, mulching helps with water retention, and provides increased room for aeration, and it is also a source of nourishment.
If your plants are properly mulched, they are not going to need as much water. Mulching dramatically brings down the rate of reduction, so if your plants are properly mulched, they are not going to require a lot of water.
In fact, you will probably have to water the plants just once a day.
How Often Should You Water the Tomato Plant?
A common question that many people ask is related to the frequency of watering the tomato plants. Well, to put it simply, you need to understand the objective.
Remember, when watering the plants, the aim is to keep the soil moist, and not to flood it. Ideally, the soil needs to be damp around six to eight inches below the ground. This will help stimulate the roots and cause growth.
Therefore, what most people do is water their tomato plants at least once a day. If you are not sure about how much water your plants require, it might be a wise move to begin by watering them once in day, and then keep checking after every few hours.
Eventually, you will realize just how long it takes for the soil to become dry again, so you will be able to make an informed decision on your own, instead of just making a random guess.
If your plants aren’t watered the right way, the tomatoes could cause a series of problems, such as:
- Diseases, which could lead to root loss or blossom end rot
- Significantly reduced production of fruit
- Growth becomes stunted
- Resistance of the plant decreases
So, it goes without saying that learning how to water your plants the right way is incredibly important, and could really help you grow your plants in the best possible manner. It’s recommended that you establish a watering schedule and stick to it.
Again, don’t make the obvious mistake of watering your plants at night, because that could have debilitating effects on the health of your plants, and could also kill them in the long run if you persist.
Growing up with a mom who filled her home (inside and out) with all sorts of plants, Lisa got her start in gardening at a young age. Living now on her own with a home and yard full of plants (including an indoor greenhouse), she shares all the gardening tips she’s gained over the years.