‘Essential’ tips to water tomato plants ‘properly’ and avoid ‘consequences’

Gardening: Homebase shares tips to help grow tomatoes

Many adore tomatoes for their flavour, but they taste even better when they’re homegrown in the garden.

While these crops are popular to grow in greenhouses and gardens, they are tricky to get right when watering.

According to the experts at garden retailer Bloomling, “proper watering is essential for healthy and strong growing tomato plants”, and “incorrect watering” can have “serious consequences for your tomatoes”. 

Incorrect watering can result in the plant developing “diseases, low yields, stunted growth and reduced plant resistance”.

Many gardeners tend to experiment until they find out when, how often and how much water their tomatoes want to be watered, and then they learn from their mistakes.

However, it’s better to avoid these mistakes in the first place. Therefore, here are the most important tips for correct tomato plant watering.

1. Just water the soil

According to the experts, the “most important principle” when watering tomato plants is to only water the soil. They said: “Never, never, under any circumstances water the plants from above.”

It is often recommended to remove leaves from the plant when it gets to 40cm to make it easier for the water to only get to the soil and avoid water splashing on the leaves as this can result in them getting scorched by the sun.

2. Water the plant slowly 

According to the pros, slow watering is “essential for happy tomato plants”.  Gardeners need to make sure that the water is absorbed into the soil before thinking about watering again. 

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The experts added: “The soil should be six to eight inches (15 to 20 centimetres) moist to promote root growth.” Always water around the stem, but not the stem itself to encourage the roots to spread.

3. Mulch 

Mulch refers to the material used to cover the surface of exposed soil and this can be made up of plant material such as straw and lawn clippings. 

The experts explained how it offers numerous advantages and makes “sensitive tomato plants happy”.

Mulch regulates moisture, releases important nutrients into the soil, promotes soil aeration when loosely mixed with the top layer of soil and protects against evaporation and ensures that gardeners have to water less often.

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Although gardeners will want to know how often they should water their tomato plants, there is no general answer since the correct watering frequency depends on numerous factors such as temperature, soil conditions and location. 

It may well be that gardeners have to water their tomato plants several times a day or just once or twice a week. The only thing that really helps here is to observe carefully.

The roots also need air, so drowning them in water won’t help. Plus, too much water can wash out important nutrients from the soil. It is therefore recommended that the plant is checked regularly.

The leaves are an important indicator of this. If they droop in the evening, the plant needs water. If the plant looks limp during the day, that’s not a cause for concern.

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