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how often should you water tomato plants

How Often Should You Water Tomato Plants and How a Self-Watering System Can Help

How often should you water tomato plants? This question stumps many gardeners come summer as they begin planting their seeds. 

Unfortunately, watering tomatoes is not an exact science. You cannot depend on a measured amount to always provide the perfect hydration to your plants because so many factors affect how much water your garden needs. Instead, you must learn over- and under-watering signs and practice different hydration techniques to discover what works best for your plants. 

At A Garden Patch, we created the GrowBox, a self-watering tomato planter to solve this dilemma so you can grow perfect tomatoes with minimal work. We designed the GrowBox specifically to have perfect plant spacing, proper and automatic fertilization, and adequate nutrients that take all the guesswork out, giving your plants everything they need to grow, including dolomite for tomatoes.

Here, we discuss how much water tomatoes need to thrive and how a self-watering system can make gardening easier and more fruitful. 

How Much Water Do Tomato Plants Need?

When growing tomatoes from seeds, the small container requires minimal water. You can use a spray bottle to dampen the soil’s surface, but avoid creating any puddles. Once you notice that the soil becomes dry in less than 24 hours after spraying, you can move your plant to a larger container and begin watering more. 

If you plan to grow your tomatoes from containers, you’ll need additional water as potting causes more evaporation and heat retention than ground planting. As a general rule of thumb, you should water potted tomato plants once in the morning until the water runs out the bottom of the pot. You can water again in the afternoon if the top inch of the soil feels dry. 

In-ground tomato plants receive moisture from the soil, but you must still water them once or twice daily to help the root system retain moisture. Depending on the temperature and stage of growth, you’ll typically need to give your tomato plants one to two inches of water per week. 

Why Is Consistent Watering Important?

Tomatoes are particularly sensitive to the amount of water they receive. Improper watering can cause root problems that affect plant growth and flowering, like blossom end rot and root rot. Adequate watering allows your plants to access more soil nutrients so they can grow into healthier, larger plants and yield juicy, delicious fruit.

Important Factors in Determining Watering Amounts

How often should you water tomato plants? To create a watering routine for your plants, you must understand the different factors that affect how much water tomatoes need. The most important factors include:

  • Pot size: Selecting a large enough pot allows for maximum oxygen, aeration, and growth. You should select a deep pot with adequate drainage that can hold around five to seven gallons of soil for maximum moisture retention. For easier results, consider a self-watering planter like the GrowBox instead. 
  • Soil type: The potting soil you choose impacts drainage, aeration, nutrients, and water absorption. Select a high-quality soil suitable for tomatoes. 
  • Stage of growth: Tomatoes go through five growth stages: seeding, sprouting, baby leaves, full-size leaves, and flowering fruits. Each stage requires different water levels, so be sure to adjust accordingly.  
  • Temperature: Warmth increases evaporation, so you should water your tomatoes more often in hot weather.

How To Tell If You’re Over- or Under-watering Tomatoes

Your plants will show you signs when they’re not doing so well. While different plant diseases and infestations can cause tomato issues, the most common problem is inadequate watering. The top signs of over- or under-watering include the following:

  • Yellowing leaves
  • Wilting
  • Crumbly soil
  • Dust collection on leaves

What Else Do Tomato Plants Require?

Tomato plants don’t just need water to survive. You must nail down the right lighting, temperatures, and nutritional systems to keep your plant healthy. 

  • Light: Tomato plants love light, so place them in the sun for at least a few hours each day. 
  • Temperature: Tomatoes thrive in warmer temperatures, but you must adjust your watering schedule with any climate change. As the summer heats up, continuously measure soil moisture to gauge how frequently you should water the plants. 
  • Nutrition: You can use organic mulch or different plant foods to add more nutrition to your soil for improved plant growth. Self-watering planters like the GrowBox include nutritional packets designed specifically for tomatoes, so you don’t need to worry about additional fertilizers. 

Take the Guesswork Out of Watering with a Self-watering System

Self-watering systems take the guesswork out of tomato gardening. Typically the sub-irrigation planters place the plant atop a water canal where the roots can essentially “drink” as much water as they please. Sub-irrigation mimics how plants grow and thrive in the wild, pulling moisture from the Earth as needed. 

Garden Patch’s GrowBox waters slowly and allows plants to receive moisture they need, preventing under- and over-watering. You can set the foolproof system up anywhere without gardening experience and enjoy plump juicy tomatoes in no time. Our planting guide includes simple instructions, allowing you to become a gardening master in ten minutes. 

Sub-irrigation: Watering Plants the Natural Way

Tomato plants use transpiration to absorb water and transport it to leaves via capillary action. The roots essentially “drink” water and direct it throughout the plant’s stem and leaves. In dry soil, plants cannot access enough moisture and will develop issues, though noticing such problems beneath the soil is challenging as a gardener. 

Sub-irrigation creates the optimal soil environment for plants to thrive. Plants can access the reservoir through their root systems as needed rather than waiting on daily water showers. The natural solution allows tomato plants to adapt to their environments and absorb exactly how much moisture they need that day. 

how often should you water tomato plants

Grow Perfect Tomatoes With Garden Patch’s GrowBox

So, how often should you water tomato plants? No single answer exists because many environmental factors impact how much moisture your plants need. Instead of guessing, opt for self-watering tomato planters that create ideal moisture conditions. 

Shop online for the Garden Patch GrowBox or order by phone by calling (800) 519-1955

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