Tomatoes are more often used in various cuisines, that is why a lot of people around the world cultivate them. They are also easy to grow and sustain.
However, to achieve a successful tomato harvest, you have to ensure that they properly care. And learning how much water a tomato plant needs is crucial.
Here are some vital things you need to know about watering tomato plants and how to grow them properly.
How much water does a tomato plant need per day?
One of the vital parts of growing tomato plants is watering, as plants will not survive without water. However, knowing the proper amount of water, the right time, and the right way is more than the usual care task.
It is essential to keep the soil moist consistently and should never be wet or dry. Tomato plants have to be watered every day or every other day except if there is rain. And they require 1-1.5 inches of water every week.
The best time to water tomato plants is in the morning, as they tend to grow better. However, if your area is dry, you have to water them twice a day.
Keep in mind that leaves can be burned by the sun if they water droplets on them, so avoid watering your tomato plants at noon or in the evening.
What will happen if the tomato plant is overwatered?
Overwatering tomato plants can cause several problems such as poor quality fruit, reduced fruiting, susceptibility to pests and diseases, and more.
It is crucial to monitor the moisture levels in the soil to ensure you are not overwatering your tomato plants. You can check the soil moisture level in your garden by digging about 6 inches down using a trowel or probe.
How would you know that your tomato plants are overwatered? There are a number of signs that can tell you that you have watered your tomato plants more than they need.
However, overwatered tomato plants may look similar to underwatered plants. So, you have to pay attention if you notice these signs when the soil around your tomato plants is still moist.
Here are some signs of overwatered tomato plants:
- Wilted or yellowed leaves and stems
- Bumps and blisters on the leaves
- Leaves falling off entirely
- Dark colored roots
- Slimy texture roots
In some cases, you can save an overwatered plant by pulling it up gently, getting rid of the excess dirt, and placing the roots on a stack of two or three newspapers. Then, keep the plant in the newspaper until the excess water has been absorbed. After that, plant it again in a pot that fits its roots and fill it with compost.
However, if the cause of overwatering is too much rain, hang a tarp or plastic sheet over the overwatered plant. Then, remove the sheet when the rainfall stops.
When to stop watering tomato plants?
As mentioned above, keeping the soil moist is necessary for a successful tomato harvest. However, overwatering them can cause problems.
The best way to know when to stop watering tomato plants is by monitoring the moisture levels. Ensure that the soil is moist throughout the day.
You also have to keep in mind that the type of soil in your garden affects the moist level. Sandy soils dry quickly after watering or rain. On the other hand, clay soils can hold water for up to a week.
If you see any signs of overwatering on your tomato plants, adjust your water and be sure they will be watered accordingly.
Also, you may stop watering tomato plants when their fruits turn ripe, as it indicates they have to focus their energy on the ripening process.
How to grow tomatoes in pots?
Growing tomatoes in a garden and pots are quite different and require different needs. A number of people prefer to grow tomatoes in pots as they are portable.
It is the best option if you do not have a garden space. You can place the pots on the porch, balcony, deck, or driveway.
When growing tomatoes in pots, there are some important things you should keep in mind. These things will help you grow and harvest quality tomatoes.
Use large pots
Using large pots in planting tomatoes is essential as they give enough space for the plants to grow. Use a pot that is at least 1 square foot or more for one plant. Then, fill the pot with excellent quality potting soil.
In addition, tomatoes in smaller pots need more feeding and watering. Also, Don’t forget to put drainage holes in the pots. If none, drill several.
Avoid adding other plants to the pot, even if there is still a lot of space. As it will compete with the tomato plant for nutrients and water.
Dig a deep hole
In planting a tomato seedling, you have to bury most of the plant in the hole. Be sure to dig a deep hole when you are digging.
This will help the plant to develop a sturdy root system and grow healthy.
Keeping consistent moisture is crucial in growing tomatoes in pots as pots can quickly dry out. And this is one of the major challenges you will face when growing tomatoes in pots.
Always check the soil moisture every day and consider utilizing self-watering containers and water-retaining additives. Also, some pots tend to hold a lot of heat which causes soil to dry quickly.
If you water your tomato plants inconsistently, it will cause a crack or split on tomato fruits. Also, if a tomato plant gets too little water, it will droop and weaken, and develop blossom end rot.
During hot seasons and windy days, water the tomato plants twice a day. It is best to water them in the morning to give them moisture throughout the day.
Furthermore, apply water directly to the soil and refrain from wetting the foliage. As this will help develop fungus and blight.
Feed your tomatoes
When planted in pots, tomatoes need feeding about every two weeks. Be sure to feed your tomato plants with the main nutrients they need, such as phosphorus, potassium, and nitrogen.
If you are using high-quality potting soil, you don’t have to add fertilizer as it is already included in them. So make sure to read the soil bag to know if the nutrients needed by your plant are included in the mix.
If the potting soil does not have fertilizer, feed your plant with a tomato-specific fertilizer or an all-purpose slow-release fertilizer.
Find a good spot
Sun is essential in growing tomato plants. It is important to give your plants at least 6 to 8 hours of sun per day.
Place pots in areas where they can receive enough sun. Put the pots together in one place but avoid putting them so clove that their leaves rub against each other. This can encourage the spread of disease easily.
If pots are placed in an area far from a water source, make sure to have a garden hose. This will ensure your plants will have a steady moisture supply.
Growing cherry tomatoes in pots
One of the most popular types of tomatoes is the cherry tomato. Planting them in pots is one of the best ways to grow them.
Cherry tomatoes grow fast and need lots of maintenance to keep their shape and help them produce the optimum amount of fruit. And when they start producing fruit, they tend to do so almost constantly.
Here are some things you need to keep in mind when growing cherry tomatoes in pots:
Choose the right pot
Your pot should be at least 4 feet deep, 14 inches wide, and can hold at least five gallons. Also, make sure there are lots of drainage holes in the bottom.
Find the best spot
The same as the other types of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes need a lot of sun and heat. Choose a spot where they can get at least six hours of sun.
Choose quality organic potting soil
Look for premium organic potting soil that is made for vegetables. There are plenty of commercial potting soils that include fertilizer which provides sufficient nutrients to your tomatoes. You should also add a few scoops of compost to give your plants an extra boost.
Water them daily
Cherry tomatoes in pots require a proper amount of moisture. So you have to water and monitor them daily to ensure they are not underwater or overwater.
Two weeks after planting cherry tomatoes, water them every week with a soluble balanced fertilizer. Once the plants start to flower, switch to a high-potassium fertilizer.
Support the plant
When tomato plants start to produce fruits, they become pretty heavy. Therefore, they need some support, and tomato cages are perfect for cherry tomatoes.
Tomato cages are affordable and can last for several years. They also come in different sizes. Therefore, you can have the perfect fit for your pots.
They support the branches, which prevent breakage and losing your plant.
Growing tomatoes can be quite easy, but it requires proper care and knowledge to ensure you achieve a successful harvest, regardless of its type. Whether you are planting your tomatoes in a garden or pots, giving them the right amount of water, fertilizer, sun, and care is essential for a tasty, healthy, and fresh tomato harvest.