Water once or twice a day

doddJune 24, 2010

Should I water once a day or twice? Day or nights? I'm in OKlahoma and it's HOT!!! I've got a few green tomatoes no red onces yet;(. Lots of flowers

thanks for helping me

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catman529(6b)

Unless your ground dries out completely every day, you don't even need to water every day (unless they are in containers). Dig down about 1 or 2 inches into the soil with a spoon or something and if it's even a little moist you don't need to water. Train the tomatoes to grow deep roots by not watering too much - the more you water them, the shallower the roots grow so if you forget to water then your plants will suffer.

Just my 2¢

    Bookmark   June 24, 2010 at 9:57PM
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bart1(6/7 Northern VA)

I can only get to my garden on weekends so unless it rains, I water once a week. I use soaker hoses and only give each row/soaker hose a couple of hours of watering because I have to move the hose to the next row and the next row, etc. I also use landscaping fabric between tomato rows to keep the weeds down, but it also conserves water and keeps the soil much more moist than the uncovered parts.

Oh yeah, I'm in VA and for the last week or two we've had temps above 90 so we're getting blasted with heat too.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 7:28AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Need to know if these are in-ground or in containers? We tend to assume on posts that we are talking in-ground plants since that is what most have. If so, then there should be no need regardless of temps to water daily much less twice a day. Weekly or MAYBE every 4th-5th day depending on soil type, but such frequent watering of in-ground plants only encourages shallow rooting and stressed plants.

Dave

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:36AM
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dodd

They are in ground plants! My leaves look dry and burnt up. I'm a first timer this year. I've never planted a garden... I've got 20 plants growing but a few plants has brown leaves. Thanks for your help!!

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 11:01AM
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sprouts_honor(5, southern shore of Erie)

Get a wooden dowel rod (or two) and sink it in the ground near a plant or two and leave it. Pull it out when you think you need to water. If the top is dry and the bottom is a little damp, it's time to water. If it looks dark and feels saturated, wait to water. I use this technique with potted plants that don't like being over watered and it's helpful with in ground plants too.
Jennifer

    Bookmark   June 25, 2010 at 9:28PM
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sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

The dry and burnt up look is usually a sign that your not watering enough, if you can exclude desease and or very poor deficient soil. If your in a really hot weather area maybe consider watering deeply (drip irragation, soaker hose or long trickle watering from a hose) once a week and add additional watering days from there. Another thing to condsider is your soil structure, heavy soils tend to hold water longer than faster draining loose sandy loam type soils.

Damon

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 2:13AM
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Bets(z6A S ID)

Hi Dodd,

Damon, Dave and Bart are correct. Watering weekly is usually all that is needed unless you have light soil that drains quickly. Watering deeply encourages your tomato plants to build a deeper more robust root system that is better able to withstand variations in watering. Watering daily (or more often) encourages shallow root developement and more drastic reactions to water availability. Tomatoes typically need about 1" of water a week (more for soil that drains quickly or less for heavy soil that does not drain as quickly.) An inch of rain is exactly that, water that is one inch deep. One inch of rainfall equals 4.7 gallons of water per square yard or 22,650 gallons of water per acre!

Sprouts' tip on the dowel is a great one! Personally, I like to use a moisture meter in combination with monitoring the condition of the plants. If the leaves on my tomatoes droop and the soil is dry, they get a good deep drink. If leaves are rolling (sides curling in towards the center) that means they have not drained well and I need to back off on the water.

This means that in the early summer when it is still cool, I may need to water only every 8 to 12 days, and when we get some of our cookin' hot days, I may be watering every 4 - 5 days, but most of the time it is a weekly good soaking.

Hope that helps.

Betsy

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 10:38AM
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terrybull

and a good layer of mulch.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 11:28AM
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californian

This year I have a huge garden, my whole backyard, so it is too time consuming to water everyday so I am only watering deeply once a week. I live in southern California where it doesn't rain a drop all summer, so all water my garden gets comes out of a hose or watering can. So far my garden is doing the best it ever did, no disease, prolific. BTW, I have almost pure clay soil but every year I have been working a dump truck load of compost into it and its finally getting pretty good. I made depressions around all my plants because I live on a hill and the water would just run off if I didn't, and only water in the depressions using a wand with a special nozzle that makes a very fine spray. I try to avoid watering any soil between the plants to hinder weed and Bermuda grass growth.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 12:17PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Dodd - your description sounds much more like a disease possibility than a water issue. Any way you can post a picture of the plants? If not look up some photos of 'early blight' on the net or check out the link below for disease photos and see if you can compare your plants to any of them. They are organized by Stem/Leaf/Fruit/etc. problem categories.

Dave

Here is a link that might be useful: TAMU - Tomato Problems

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 2:10PM
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robertz6

Good Site -- provides a quick look at various tomato problems.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 3:15PM
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robertz6

I see novice tomato growers that all seem to do two things-

1) place plants too close together
2 water too often, maybe every day.

I water deeply twice a week. Heavy rainfall is deducted from my watering, but it has to be heavy.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 3:24PM
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sprtsguy76(Santa Clara Ca. 9b)

I'm still to this day guilty of planting too close together. But with a postage stamp size backyard do ya blame me? I broke my over-watering habits after the first year of growing tomatoes.

Damon

    Bookmark   June 26, 2010 at 10:13PM
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robertz6

Sprtsguy76:

I crammed 30 toms into limited space. One thing I did this year for the first time is try the upside down tomato. Some like this method, other say it is a fad. But it takes up very little space (you could even move it).

    Bookmark   July 1, 2010 at 3:05PM
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