The Best Ways to Water and Feed Tomatoes

 It is essential for a good crop of sweet tomatoes to water and feed regularly, and this is true whatever type of tomato you are growing.

Tomatoes need watering regularly from the beginning to ensure they do not dry out. Container grown tomatoes will be more prone to drying out. Start feeding tomatoes once the flowers appear.

Increase watering and feeding when the tomato fruits form and get larger. If you are growing tomatoes under glass or in a greenhouse, the tomatoes will need watering daily on warm days to make sure plants do not dry out. If the plant dries out, this can cause the fruit to have tough split skins, and a less sweet flavour. One aim of growing your own tomatoes is to have sweet tasting fruit; irregular watering will impair the flavour. Regular feeding is equally important and feed with proprietary tomato feed as soon as the first flowers appear, and feed regularly throughout growing season. The bottle will give instructions to ensure the correct amount of feed to water ratio. 

The image above left shows how not to water a tomato plant. It is important to avoid splashing feed or water the leaves which can raise the chances of diseases caused by water born fungus. 

The image right shows an effective way to ensure the water goes to the tomato roots. Cut the bottom off a plastic water bottle and sink it into the pot when you are potting on the tomato. This enables you to funnel the water down to the roots, away from the leaves. Alternatively, when watering keep the hose or watering can rose close to the ground to channel the water and avoid splashing the leaves. 

How often should you water tomatoes?

There is no rule of thumb, plants need less water when they are small so as the plant grows water more regularly. Do not let the compost dry out and the warmer it is, the more water the plants need.

In a similar way, start feeding the tomatoes when the flowers appear, perhaps every two weeks, moving to every week as the plant grows in vigour and twice weekly when the fruits are plentiful. However, tomato feed does vary in strength, so check the manufactures' instructions.

Now you can enjoy your harvest- but what to do at the end of the season with the green tomatoes which fail to ripen.

Check out A Foolproof way to Ripen Tomatoes

Last updated 14.03.2021