Watering Tomatoes

sherilou_2010(8)May 14, 2012

Greetings Gulf Coast Gardeners!

1. How often do you water your big beefsteak tomato plants (that are planted in the ground) from mid March through mid June?

2. Do you give each tomato one gallon of water per watering... or less?

3. Do you water in the evening or the morning?

Thank you!

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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

The answer to these questions are going to be different for everyone due to different soils, rainfall amounts, sun exposure, wind, yada yada. When it didn't rain for so long last summer, I ended up having to water my toms about every-other day. My soil is quite sandy and just doesn't hold moisture, and there are huge trees all over the yard, so no matter how much I put today, it's going to be dry again in a couple days.

Just keep an eye on 'em, and as they get bigger and it gets hotter, they'll need more water. Hopefully it will rain more this summer. I use the hose with a sprinkler head and try to do it in the morning when they are wet with dew anyway, try to aim it just on the soil, not all over the foliage.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 10:06AM
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JimR36(5b CO)

Yeah, it's hard to say exactly how much water to apply. And a lot of it has to do with how much sunshine they get (more will obviously dry out the soil quicker and drive the plants to grow faster), and how much or little mulch you have.

I prefer to water around 10 AM and 4 PM, but know many people can't do that. The first gets them ready for the peak sun/heat of the day, and the second gives them some cooling and refreshment for the evening and night.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 11:52AM
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chuck(Z10,SW FL)

Perhaps a self watering container will work for you. They are pretty easy to make and they can be moved.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2012 at 6:12AM
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Great information... thank you so much. I am going to try every-other day, because my soil is sandy, too. I have a full-sun garden, so on really hot days (like this past weekend) I'll water every day in the morning. I'll see how it goes this summer.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 3:59PM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

Back in the 80s I read the first "Square Foot Gardening" book. He claimed that tomatoes originated in places where it was flooded during their seedling to young stages and at the end of the growth cycle it was near drought conditions. So, I water like crazy when I transplant my tomatoes and as they grow I start cutting back on the frequency of my watering. The full grown plants even look sorta wilted on the hottest days.

This method works beautifully for me. Took all of the guesswork out of the equation!

If I get a lot of rain during the latter part of the growing season, along with our typical blast-furnace heat, the plants kinda/sorta melt away to oblivion! But, if our mid to late summer is somewhat dry, my plants flourish. Backs up what Mel Bartholomew has been saying for over 30 years.

    Bookmark   January 15, 2013 at 4:45AM
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Here in my area I found that when the weather and sunshine get too hot I cannot let water get the leaves of the tomato plants wet or it destroys those leaves that receive watering. So I make sure the water goes directly on the soil once our summer weather comes. I have never been able to over water my tomato plants in the summer months.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2013 at 11:11PM
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I live in Pensacola, FL and what i would recommend would be lining your tom plants with soaker hoses and cover with hay. It holds the moisture really well on those hot summer days. I've also found that watering during the morning helps a lot because if you water in the afternoon your tomatoes will split.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2013 at 12:13AM
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Wow, it's great to see some info from folks on the gulf coast! We definitely have our own set of challenges, huh?

For some reason, we can't get our tomatoes to really grow this year! They just seem to be taking their sweet time. We have a few in raised beds and large containers. Any advice to get them to take off?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2013 at 2:51PM
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bigoledude(SE Louisiana)

This has been a crazy spring with the frequent cool spells. Put those tomatoes in some good soil and eventually they'll take off. I got a late start but, my neighbor's tomatoes are already 4-feet tall.

I use 2 drip emitters at the bottom of each plant. A cheap ($24.00) Home Depot timer takes care of the schedule. Soaker hoses plug up on me because our Parish puts soooo much lime in our water, the calcium eventually plugs up the pores. Plus, the emitters and poly tubing last just about forever.

Our actual soil is very "clayey" but, when they developed our subdivision, they brought in about 6 feet of river sand just to get us up to sea-level! Did a lot of good. Katrina dumped about 13-feet of slop in my house.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2013 at 3:10AM
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