Monday, November 1, 2010

Four Keys to Watering Tomato Plants

While you can’t control the sun or wind, you can control the amount of water your tomato plants receive. Consistent watering is an important key to healthy tomato plants.

It’s simple to achieve when you know where, when, how, and how much to water tomatoes.

Where should you water?
Water at the soil line. You’ll help build your tomato’s root system. Avoid overhead watering, which spreads diseases.

When should you water?
Water tomato plants during the day. Some gardeners prefer morning watering to fortify plants for the heat they’ll endure as the day wears on. Others water when the sun is high as a way of cooling leaves. But which ever you choose, on one point gardeners agree: avoid watering tomato plants in the evening. Leaves that are wet overnight are susceptible to the spread of fungi and other diseases.

How should you water?
Water slowly. Let water sink into the ground to help plants develop strong roots. Hand-watering and drip irrigation are more effective than overhead watering. When the soil surrounding your tomato plant is moistened 6-8” deep, you’ll know you’ve done your job well.

How much should you water?
Consistent watering produces stronger plants and larger fruit. Water newly-planted tomatoes at least a quart for 7-10 days. In the height of summer, water plants 2-3 times a week. (Rainfall counts.) Later when temperatures cool, scale back to once a week.

About the Author
Kathy Widenhouse is a contributing writer for Mike the Gardener Enterprises, LLC and owner of Tomato Dirt (, a leading source for information on growing tomatoes and using them.

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