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How Often to Water Tomatoes
Watering tomato plants can be a tricky business – on one hand, not enough water can kill them, while too much can lead to root rot and other issues. Knowing a few tips and tricks can help – so here’s how often water tomatoes!
How Often to Water Tomatoes
The general rule for watering tomatoes is that they should have about an inch of water every week. For a more precise reading, you can stick your finger 2-3 inches deep in the soil. If it’s dry, it’s time to water. You can also use a moisture meter to determine how dry the soil is, and water whenever a 2-3 inch depth reads dry.
That said, there are special guidelines for each stage of a tomato’s life.
Water seeds and seedlings every day. A few spritzes with a spray bottle will generally be enough, but if they’re in a hot or dry area, they may need more or to be watered twice a day. Water whenever the top of the soil is visibly dry. You will find that they need more water as they get bigger.
Once they’re too large to be considered seedlings anymore, you’ll likely transplant them into the garden or a larger container. Water them deeply when you first transplant, then water them in the morning on a daily basis unless it rains. If it’s an extra hot day, water them in the afternoon as well.
Consistency is most important at this stage, since underwatering can stunt production and overwatering can cause the fruits to deform or rot. Check the soil in the morning and afternoon/evening, watering whenever it’s dry and leaving it alone when it’s damp.
Watering Tomato Plants
When watering tomato plants, focus on watering the base of the tomato rather than the leaves and stem. Wet leaves increase the risk of disease. Use a watering can or hose head with holes in the nozzle to make the water drip in a more gentle and rain-like way. Slower, more even watering keeps the soil from being displaced.
Try to water consistently each morning when it doesn’t rain. Consistently moist soil will give you the best yield and fruit quality.
Watering Tomatoes in Pots
When you keep your tomatoes in containers, they tend to dry out faster. Check the soil 2-3 inches deep in the morning and afternoon, and water again whenever it’s dry. To thoroughly water tomatoes in containers, water until the excess starts running out the drainage holes in the bottom.
Signs You’re Overwatering
While underwatering is a typical problem, you can overwater your tomatoes too. A few signs are deformities and discoloring on the leaves, along with cracked fruit. Here’s how to identify and fix an overwatered tomato.
Signs of Underwatering
Tomatoes can quickly become underwatered when it’s hot out. Signs include wilted, curling leaves and (of course) dry soil. Water them as soon as possible for the best chance of reviving them.
Happy Tomato Growing!
With these tips, you should be able to successfully water your tomatoes throughout the growing season! For more tomato tips, check out the list of the best tomato companion plants.
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