How Much & How Often to Water Tomatoes? Tips, Facts, & FAQ
When you’re starting your own garden, one of the first plants that many people go with is the tomato plant. It’s a hardy option, which is perfect for beginners. But there are still plenty of potential pitfalls.
Watering presents its own set of challenges when it comes to tomato plants, so here, we highlight just how much and how often you should be watering your tomato plants. We also provide helpful pointers to get the most from your plants.
How Much Should You Water Tomatoes?
Most people will tell you that you should ensure that your tomato plants get 1 to 2 inches of water each week. But while this is a great place to start, it doesn’t give you the full story.
How much you should water your tomato plants comes down to the conditions that your plants are in. During especially hot times, you should give your tomato plants more water, and during mild conditions, you can cut back.
Getting to know your region and building a bit of experience goes a long way in ensuring that you water your tomato plants correctly.
How Often Should You Water Tomatoes?
Once again, this comes down to the area where you live in and the current weather conditions. Most people choose to water their tomato plants every day, but during mild conditions, it’s fine to water every other day.
Try to get as much water on the roots as possible without adding too much water to the leaves. This is especially important during mild conditions, when the water on the leaves can’t evaporate quickly.
Excessive water on the leaves can lead to mold and help spread diseases from plant to plant. You also need to consider where you planted your tomato plant when factoring in how often to water it.
If you’re growing container tomatoes, you’ll need to water more often because the soil won’t hold water as long compared to raised bed plants or those right in the ground.
The 3 Other Tips for Growing Tomatoes
While watering your tomato plants is a critical part of successfully growing tomatoes, it’s not the only thing that you need to consider. Once you get the watering right, you should do three other things to ensure that your tomatoes thrive.
1. Plenty of Sun
Tomatoes need sunlight to thrive and they love warm conditions. Aim for at least 6 hours of direct sunlight a day when you’re picking a location to put your tomato plants. But keep in mind six hours is the minimum, not the max. When it comes to tomato plants, the more sunlight, the better.
2. Cage Your Tomatoes
With tomatoes, you need to control the growth to get the best possible results. This starts with caging the plants. Put the cages up early, and grow the plants around them for the best possible results.
3. Prune the Suckers
You’re growing tomato plants to get tomatoes, not to see how big the plant can get. When the plant is growing, you just want it to get large enough for more fruit to grow.
Suckers are small vines that try to get the plant to grow even more, even during the height of the harvesting season. This is diverting energy away from fruit growth into something that you don’t get anything from.
For large yields, prune the suckers so the plant will divert more of its energy to the tomatoes.
How Long Does It Take Tomatoes to Grow?
It all depends on the variety that you plant, but for most tomato plants, expect a harvest between 60 to 100 days after planting them. This is a long growing time, especially since you want the peak of the harvest to be during the height of summer.
We highly recommend starting from seeds inside or picking up a few starter plants from a reputable nursery. You can’t start with seeds outside in most climates. Most of the time, by the time that the plants really start to take off, the climate is simply too cold to get decent yields.
Now that you know more about how much water your tomato plants need and how to care for them, it’s up to you to put in the work to get the best possible tomatoes.
It might take more work, but when you’re plucking ripe tomatoes off your plants, it will all be worth it!
Featured Image Credit: kie-ker, Pixabay