The yield of tomatoes primarily depends on watering. Without enough moisture, the bushes simply cannot grow and bear fruit. It's good that now, when any information can be found on the Internet, we no longer need to learn from our own mistakes. It is better to listen to experienced gardeners who have extensive experience in this matter. In this article, we will learn the basic rules for watering tomatoes, as well as some of the features and ways that will make it much easier to do this. We will also see how tomatoes are watered after planting in open ground and in a greenhouse.
Basic rules for watering a tomato
Water is very important for tomato seedlings. It is thanks to her that tomatoes receive the nutrients necessary for growth. Improper watering can harm plants or even kill them. So you need to figure out how often you need to water tomatoes, and what features of seedlings to take into account.
Important! In order for tomato seedlings to give a good harvest, the soil must be saturated with moisture by 80-90%.
No complicated fixtures are needed to check the amount of moisture. It is enough just to take a lump of soil from the garden at a depth of about 10 cm. The lump should form easily and also easily disintegrate when pressed. If the soil is too crumbly or very dense, you need to reconsider the frequency of watering, and accordingly reduce or increase the amount of water.
Water is essential for all living things and plants. Without her, nothing living simply could not exist. When caring for tomatoes, you need to take into account the age of the seedlings, as well as the characteristics of the soil. In this case, you must follow some rules:
- Over-watering the soil can become too dense. Also, stagnant water threatens with an increase in the level of acidity of the soil.
- The amount of water must be calculated so that it is enough until the evening of the next day. Better then water the plant again as needed, than pour too much at one time.
- You can determine when it is time to water the seedlings on the surface of the soil around the plants. If it is darker than the soil in the garden, then there is still enough moisture. If it is completely dry and the earth has become a uniform color, then it is time to water the tomatoes.
- During the day, the soil should dry out completely. If this did not happen, and the ground near the tomato is wet and dense, then the amount of water for irrigation must be reduced.
In order for the tomatoes to feel comfortable after planting in the ground, you need to follow the watering rules exactly. But at the same time, they may differ depending on where and how the tomato seedlings grew. Therefore, when buying young seedlings, you should ask the seller about the conditions in which they were grown. For those who independently prepare tomato seedlings, it will be easier to find the right care for the sprouts. Seedlings that grew in a warm room or greenhouse need to be hardened. To do this, boxes with tomatoes are taken outside before planting so that they can get used to the wind and direct sunlight.
Advice! Hardening is very important, because without it, tomatoes will hurt when faced with new conditions.
The number and abundance of watering directly depends on the following factors:
- seedling quality;
- physical characteristics of the soil;
Unseasoned tomato seedlings will need shading for the first time after planting. Such sprouts require less moisture, since they are not under the scorching sun. Hardened seedlings after transplanting into open ground are watered once a day. One tomato bush will need about 2-3 liters of water. The best time to water is in the morning. In this case, before the onset of heat, the plant will receive the necessary nutrients and can cope with the high temperature. If by the evening the soil is completely dry, then the plants can be watered again, now only 1-2 liters of water are needed for one sprout.
Important! Remember that too much water will make the soil too dense and the seedlings will not be able to get the oxygen they need. The soil should be slightly damp, not wet.
Manual watering of tomato seedlings in a greenhouse
This irrigation method is used more often than others, as it is the simplest and most economical. It does not need special tanks or wells to collect water on the site. All that is needed to accomplish such watering is a simple improvised device and your own hands.
The following devices are used as a tool:
- watering can;
- plastic bottles;
- large container with a watering can.
The easiest way to water tomatoes is with a watering can. In this case, moisture enters the soil according to the principle of rain irrigation. Thanks to this, the water is evenly distributed over the surface of the earth. Such watering is done quickly and does not require large financial costs.
The method of watering tomatoes with a bucket is fundamentally different. In this case, furrows must be made on both sides of the row to evenly distribute the water. Then the required amount of water is poured into these furrows. With loose and fertile soil, moisture will easily get to the roots of plants. The disadvantage of this method is that it can be difficult to calculate the required amount of water for irrigation. Too loose soil can instantly absorb liquid, and in denser soil, water can stagnate.
Advice! You can check the soil moisture level using a special sensor that goes down to the root level.
To carry out manual watering of a tomato, you will have to ensure constant access of water to the site. To do this, you can put a large container near the garden, and bring a hose to it. Thus, water can be pumped in every time as needed. Some gardeners attach another hose to the container, with which you can make drip irrigation of the beds.
It is also very convenient to water tomato seedlings using plastic bottles. Surely everyone can find them at home. So, a bottle is buried upside down near each bush. Before that, the bottom of the container must be cut off. Water is poured into the bottle through the hole, which is then independently distributed. The advantage of this irrigation method is that moisture goes directly to the roots, and is not spent on moistening the top layer of the earth.
Mechanical watering of tomatoes in a greenhouse
Mechanical and manual irrigation methods are very similar in principle. True, to create a mechanical system, a larger number of different devices will be needed. But, having once made such a structure, you can not worry about watering the seedlings for a long time.
Important! Mechanical watering requires little or no physical effort.
To create such a system, you will need:
- Plastic pipes and hose.
- Drippers of any kind of irrigation.
- Source for water supply. This can be a water supply pipe or a regular well.
- Equipment for pumping water.
- Electric Energy.
- Deep container or reservoir.
The first step in creating a mechanical watering system for a tomato is to install a pump to pump out water. A person without experience in this area is unlikely to cope with the installation, so it is better to contact a specialist. Then the work will be done according to the instructions, and in the future there will be no problems with watering. The pumping equipment is switched on and off by a special remote control, which can be located directly on the pump itself or in your house. This directly depends on the type of the pump itself and the way it is installed.
Then pipes from the pump are laid to the tank. If the electricity suddenly goes out, it will be possible to irrigate from this reservoir manually or with a hose. After that, the pipes are placed in the greenhouse itself. Some are set from above to irrigate the soil more evenly. Others place pipes on top of the soil. You can also deepen them into the soil using drip irrigation.
Attention! It is best to use plastic pipes for the construction of a mechanical irrigation system.
They are no less sturdy than metal ones, and at the same time, they are much easier to work with. This material is easier to cut and hold together.
Valves should be installed on each pipe. Thanks to them, it will be possible to regulate the water supply. The taps will reduce the strong head and the plants will not be harmed during irrigation. And if a pipe breaks down suddenly, it can be shut off. Then the system as a whole, as well as the plants themselves, will not suffer. It will take a lot of time and effort to prepare such a system for watering a tomato. You will also have to use expensive equipment and materials. But this is a great way for those with large greenhouses with a lot of plants. Such a device will save a lot of time and effort in the further care of tomatoes.
Watering a tomato outdoors
Watering the tomato after planting in the ground must be regular. Excess or lack of moisture can harm plants. The first time after planting it is advised to water the tomatoes abundantly, but not very often. Frequent watering can lower the soil temperature, making the fruit slow to set.
Important! The water for irrigation should be about the same temperature as the soil. Depending on the region, it can range from +20 ° C to +25 ° C.
Some people mistakenly believe that tomatoes need to be watered very often after planting. In fact, this is exactly what you don't need to do. Before you get the tomato seedlings out of the containers and plant them in the open ground, they have already been watered very abundantly. The next watering is carried out immediately after planting. This moisture will be enough for the plant to take root in the garden.
After the seedlings have taken root, watering is carried out as the tomato grows:
- it is very important to keep the soil moist during the formation of the ovaries;
- after the flowers appear and before the first fruits appear, watering is slightly reduced;
- in cloudy weather, watering can be carried out at any time of the day, and on hot days only in the morning and evening. In the scorching sun, moisture will quickly evaporate.
Warning! Tomato seedlings do not like it when, during watering, water gets on the plants themselves.
Therefore, only the aisles need to be watered. Due to the ingress of water on the leaves and stems, the seedlings can simply "boil" in hot weather.
Construction of a drip irrigation system in a greenhouse
A greenhouse irrigation system should not only be efficient, but also economical. This is exactly what drip irrigation is. The advantage of this method is that the irrigation process is fully automated and does not require much effort on your part. Also, drip irrigation will protect tomato seedlings from late blight. And as you know, this is the most common disease in tomatoes.
It is not difficult to build such an irrigation system. The pipes are installed according to the principle of a conventional mechanical irrigation system. In this case, water will flow to the plants through a special drip-type hose. All of these hoses are connected to a water source. Place drip tapes or hoses at a distance equal to the width of the row of tomatoes. If these are tall tomatoes, then the row spacing will be equal to 1 meter, and if they are undersized, then 40-50 cm.
Such a system carries out dosed watering of the tomato. Moisture enters the plants through special holes in the drip tape. If the hoses are properly positioned, the water will penetrate directly to the roots of the tomatoes. Some people bury the tape 4–5 cm in the soil. In this case, you can definitely be sure that the upper part of the plants will not get wet. To 100% protect the leaves from irrigation, turn the drip tape with the holes facing down.
Important! Due to the fact that drip irrigation is aimed specifically at watering the root system, tomatoes in the future will not get sick with late blight.
And this disease, as you know, is capable of causing precisely moisture on the upper part of the plant.
The installation of the system is carried out immediately before planting seeds or tomato seedlings. First, a test run of the droppers is carried out, and only after that the hoses can be buried in the soil. A test run is also carried out in order to see where the holes are, since it is in these places that we plant tomato seedlings.
If you are going to deepen the hoses, then before installing, make furrows in the ground into which you will bury the system. Next, check the hoses and plant the plants. And after that, you can fill the furrows with earth. Any sealed barrel or box can be used as an irrigation container. A large plastic container will also work. Some, in general, do without a container, and connect the system directly to a water tap.
Important! Water with a large amount of mineral salts is not suitable for drip irrigation of tomatoes, as salt particles can clog hoses and openings.
Advantages of the drip irrigation system
Many gardeners use drip irrigation on their plots. Such popularity of this method is due to some advantages:
- Economical water consumption. The liquid goes directly to the plant roots.
- Does not require physical effort. Watering is carried out automatically. All that is required of a person is to make the system itself and turn it on from time to time. You can even make the device fully automated. For this, a special timer is installed, which will count down the time and start supplying water to the tomatoes.
- Tomatoes do not get late blight. Usually, growing tomatoes, gardeners have to spend money on preventive measures for this disease. It can appear on wet parts of plants and will spread quickly. Due to the supply of water to the roots, the stems do not get wet, and, accordingly, the tomatoes do not get sick with late blight. Thus, healthy plants will yield more generous yields. And at the same time, the vegetables will be environmentally friendly, since no chemicals were used to grow them.
- Facilitated feeding process. If you are going to apply any tomato nutrient mixture, you do not need to water each plant separately. The feed can simply be added to the greenhouse water supply container. The fertilizer will then flow through hoses to each tomato bush.
How often should tomatoes be watered
To get a good harvest, you need to know how often you need to water the tomatoes after planting. It is with water that plants absorb all the necessary nutrients. When the soil is saturated with moisture up to 90%, tomatoes will receive all the most important substances, and as a result, one can expect rapid growth and high-quality fruits.
Advice! After planting in the greenhouse, tomatoes should be watered no more than 1-2 times a week. Watering must be plentiful, you should not spare the water.
One tomato bush can take half or even a whole bucket of liquid, depending on the size of the container and the needs of the soil. The water should not be warm. It is best if the temperature of the soil and water are the same.
Advice! During the fruiting period, watering should be reduced to 1 time per week or even less often.
Some gardeners put a container for liquid right in the greenhouse. Remember that this can lead to increased humidity. It would be better to use a drip irrigation system. If this is not possible, then the barrel of water should be covered with polyethylene.
It happens that moisture stagnates due to the density of the soil. In this case, the soil must be pierced with a pitchfork in several places. After the tomatoes have been watered, you should immediately ventilate the greenhouse.If you are using a mechanical irrigation system for tomatoes, you can set a timer to automatically irrigate your plants.
Important! Watering the bushes should be stopped about 15–20 days before the start of harvesting. Then the ripening of the tomato will accelerate.
How to determine the lack or excess of water
Both excess and lack of liquid can negatively affect the yield of tomatoes. Determine when to water the tomatoes over the leaves. If they curl into a boat, this is a clear sign of a lack of fluid. To remedy the situation, loosen and water the soil around the tomato. In order for moisture to stay in the soil longer, you can mulch the soil with sawdust, hay or leaves.
Excess moisture is clearly evidenced by cracks on the stem and fruits. Such manifestations will undoubtedly affect the quality and taste of the tomato. The roots of the plant also suffer from over-watering. To make the moisture flow more even, you should use the drip irrigation method.
The basics of good watering tomato
In order for watering to be correct, you must follow some rules:
- water for irrigation should be neither cold nor hot. This can be stressful for tomatoes. You can put the container in the greenhouse itself, then the water temperature will be the same as the air temperature in the room;
- do not water very often. The root system of tomatoes goes deep into the soil, thanks to which they easily find moisture even when it seems that the soil is already completely dry. The best time to water planted tomato seedlings is evening;
- when watering a tomato, do not spray the plants themselves. Only the roots of the bushes need water. To make watering more convenient, you can make depressions around the plants. By pouring water into these holes, it is more likely that the plants will not get wet;
- the normal volume of liquid for one tomato is from 5 to 10 liters. To keep moisture in the soil longer and not evaporate, many gardeners carry out soil mulching. In this case, watering of tomatoes can be reduced;
- from time to time, watering should be alternated with top dressing. For this, you can use both organic and mineral fertilizers. For example, from organic matter, chicken droppings are perfect for tomatoes. Such watering has a very positive effect on the growth of tomatoes. You can also use various granular fertilizers. They are introduced into the soil before watering, mixing with soil or mulch. Then the moisture dissolves the granules, and they go directly to the roots of the tomato.
Progress does not stand still. If earlier everyone watered tomatoes with a bucket and watering cans, today the variety of watering methods is simply amazing. Each gardener can choose the method of watering the tomato that is most suitable for his plot. Modern irrigation systems can completely or partially eliminate manual labor. This greatly facilitates the task and guarantees a bountiful harvest.