Perhaps one of the best things to plant if you are planning on growing vegetables in your garden are tomatoes. The tomato, also known as Solanum lycopersicum, is a berry–often a red one–that is native to Central America and regions of South America. They may grow in vines that may be as high as 6 feet, however, they may also grow in branched bushes that are about 3 feet tall.
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Tomatoes are highly versatile–you can put them in your salad and many other recipes, incorporate them in your smoothie, or use them to make some pickles–which is why you will greatly benefit from them if ever you decide to grow them in your backyard. However, be careful, because tomatoes cannot just grow anywhere.
Like any other plant, tomato plants require certain environmental conditions so that they may grow properly. Also, they need to be taken care of. You need to water them regularly, fertilize them (this may help increase the number of fruits that you can harvest), and ensure that weeds don’t grow nearby and steal nutrients and space. Otherwise, they won’t grow as well as you want them to.
How Long Can Tomato Plants Go Without Water?
This depends on whether you planted your tomato plants in a container or directly on the ground. If you planted them in pots–particularly self watering pots–they may be able to survive a bit longer than a day and a half without being watered. The same is true if they are grown in containers and you keep them in a place that receives not much sunlight.
On the other hand, if you grow your tomato plants in a patch of land in your yard, they are exposed to more sunlight, so the water you give them may dry out much faster and so many tomato plants cannot be left unwatered for longer than 36 hours.
Guide to Watering Tomatoes
1. Seedlings Must be Watered Differently
Tomato seedlings are relatively more fragile, which is why they should be watered differently in comparison to more mature tomato plants.
After sowing the seeds, note that the soil must be kept moist but not wet. As for seedlings, they must be thoroughly watered to eliminate air gaps.
As much as possible, young tomato plants must be watered everyday.
2. Avoid Overwatering
Water is essential to the growth of just about any plant on the planet, however, like they say, too much of anything is bad. The same is true when watering tomato plants.
Each week, tomato plants must be given just an inch of water. If you wish to add more than that, particularly during the summer season, then make sure that all in all, you do not put more than two inches of water every week.
Not only can overwatering affect the growth of tomato plants. It can also have an effect on the fruits that it will develop. If you give your tomato plants too much water, then chances are, the fruits will be somewhat watery as well.
3. Slow Down When Watering
Water is very important for the growth and development of plants, but that does not mean that you should flood them with water because they need just the right amount.
Another way by which you can keep yourself from overwatering your tomato plants is by watering slowly. This way, you give time for the water to be absorbed instead of accumulating around your plant.
Accumulation of water can prevent the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide that is essential to the growth of your plant. In addition to that, overwatering can promote the development of diseases such as fungal diseases in your tomato plant.
Tomato plants do not need to get a great amount of water each time you water them. What they need is to be watered consistently.
4. Water them Regularly
Avoid making your plants thirsty. There is no specific rule as to how many times specifically you should be watering your plants, but what is important is that you water your plants regularly.
5. Add Some Mulch
Mulch refers to the layer of material that is often put over the topmost layer of soil. It is made of organic material such as leaves and pine needles.
Mulch is used to retain moisture in the soil, make the soil healthier, and make your garden a little more beautiful.
6. Choose Between Pots and That Little Patch in your Backyard.
When planting tomatoes, you should think about where you’re going to grow them. Do you want them in pots or containers? Or do you prefer sowing them directly in the ground? Either way is fine, but note that it may affect how often you have to water your plants.
If you are going to go for containers, note that you can use self-watering pots so that the soil is regularly kept moist. Also, containers lead to less water evaporation. If your tomato plant is in a container, you can also bring it outside if you want, so it may be kept away from too much sun and the water will not dry out so fast.
Tomato plants grown on the ground, on the other hand, will have to be watered several times each week, since they are exposed to a greater amount of sunlight, which promotes faster evaporation.
How to Take Care of Your Tomato Plants
- Use a good potting mix and water the plants regularly. Healthy plants will resist diseases effectively.
- Keep your pots free from weeds as they act as breeding grounds for insects
- Sterilize your garden tools and equipment. This will avoid the transfer of diseases to your plants.
- Get rid of unhealthy foliage. This will discourage the spread of pests and diseases.
- Avoid overhead irrigation in your plants. Damp foliage encourages the development of diseases.
Without a doubt, tomato plants would make a great addition to your backyard vegetable garden. They can be used for a lot of things and in addition to that, consuming tomatoes will be beneficial to your health. However, like any other plant, tomato plants have certain growth requirements that need to be met in order for them to grow properly and serve their purpose. One of these requirements is sufficient water.
Like most plants, tomatoes cannot go without water for a very long time, thus if you know that there would be times when you won’t be able to water your plants for a few days, you might consider getting an automatic irrigation system.
Aside from water, of course, you also have to ensure that your tomato plants are fertilized and that they are free from pests and weeds.