Tomatoes are grown either as a hobby or for commercial reasons, these days a lot of people grow them for having continues supply of organic tomatoes for personal consumption. Whatever may be the reason growing tomatoes is always fun as they are one of the easiest to grow and most rewarding of all.
It is a fact that not everyone succeeds in growing good tomatoes and fail due to numerous reasons. Many factors affect the growth of tomato plants than just selecting the breed. Soil, breed of the seed, planting, transplanting, watering, feeding are few essential factors that affect the growth. Watering and feeding are two most important factors that need due consideration when growing tomatoes.
Everyone thinks that watering plants is an easy task and do not need much planning, but one needs to know lot more about it. It should be noted that not all plants require the same amount of water to grow in a healthy plant. But for tomato plants, they need to be watered at least once a day and more than once if the dry climate demands.
Freshly transplanted seedlings to a larger pot are most vulnerable and need to be taken good care when it comes to watering and feeding. Here are few tips of watering tomato plants which will help you to grow strong and healthy plants that produce fully grown juicy tomatoes.
Tomato plants need utmost care when the seedlings are transplanted from the seedling tray to the big pot. Transplanting involves uprooting the small plants from the soil to plant into a new soil which is a crucial stage in the lifecycle of the plant. The right amount of water will help the plant to settle in quickly and using warm water for the first few weeks is ideal after which you can start watering cold water.
The newly planted tomato seedling needs to be watered regularly every day. Make sure that they get 2 to 3 inches of water weekly. It should be noted that in the initial few weeks try to water the plants on your own as they are too small for rain or watering system. Whether you are watering the plants directly or giving them water with the of rain or watering system, the plants should be watered regularly.
The soil plays a vital role in retaining moisture, and hence the well-prepared soil that holds the right amount of water is essential for tomato plants. Only quality soil can drain excess water which prevents water built up leading to rotting of plants or cause fungi. The soil should rich with nutrients at the same time lose and well-drained. Try to test the soil mix for water drainage before planting the seedlings. A right blend of compost with soil facilitates good growth as far tomato plants are considered.
There is no doubt that tomato plants need to be watered regularly, but you should always be careful of not overwatering them. Good drainage is required for the excess water to drain quickly but enough to retain the moisture. Excess water can lead to rotting of the plant or can cause fungi in the plant.
Maintaining the right amount of moisture in the soil is vital to growing healthy tomato plants, and nothing can water them better than trickle and drip irrigation method. The method requires a special porous hose that helps in continuously watering the plants in drops to keep the soil moist. The hose is approximately one meter long and needs to be connected to a water outlet and turned on to water the plants.
The special hoses are readily available in most of the gardening stores. There are a few benefits of using this watering method, and the biggest is you can save 50% of water when compared to the manual watering method. The leaves of the plant do not get wet when watered using this method and hence fewer chances of fungi and pests. You can also use the hose to trickle the feed and fertilizer.
Plants do not just grow with water and soil but need the right amount of nutrients to grow healthy. Nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous are three essential nutrients that contribute to plant growth. Most of the fertilizers available on the market are often a combination of the three nutrients. The ratio of the nutrients present in the fertilizer is displayed on the packing. These three nutrients are vital for the healthy growth of tomato plants too. However, there are also other nutrients which help tomato plants to grow but are used only in tiny quantities. Plants absorb nutrients from the soil and hence soil preparation of great significance in feeding the plants.
If you are growing the tomatoes for personal use, then try to seek expert’s advice on the soil preparation. However, you cannot take any chances for growing tomatoes for commercial reasons and hence it is advisable to send a prepared soil sample for analysis to the local gardening expert office or cooperative extension office. The analysis will help you to adjust the soil by adding enough nutrients to promote healthy growth. pH of the soil also plays a significant role when growing plants which facilitate plants for absorption of nutrients from the soil. Highly acidic and alkaline soil hinders the growth of the plant. Generally, mulch is added to the soil to increase the acidity and lime to raise the alkalinity.
Good time to add the right amount of nutrients to the soil is after receiving the test results of the soil analysis. The test results will reflect the deficiency of any nutrient in the soil. The ideal ratio of nutrients for growing tomato plants is 5-10-10 or 8-16-16. The proportions can be altered later for best growth results. A higher amount of potassium will be required once the plant starts flowering.
Apart from the above soil composition is essential for the nutrition of the plant as it directly affects the growth of the tomato plant. Try to avoid clay soils and too sandy soils for growing tomato plants as they can restrict the root growth and does not hold adequate water. Composted organic matter uses nitrogen and contributes a lot to the healthy growth of the plant whereas fresh organic matter will remove essential nutrients from the soil.