One of the most common questions we get from our readers is how often to water tomatoes in a raised bed. It’s a valid question since tomatoes are a crop that can be seriously affected by over or under-watering. Today, we’re going to share our secret formula for how often to water tomatoes in a raised bed – so you can make sure your plants get the perfect amount of water!
How Often Should You Water Tomatoes in A Raised Bed?
When you first plant your tomatoes, water them deeply to help them get established. You should water every day for the first 10 to 14 days.
After that, you should water your plants several times per week, for a total of 1 to 2 inches per week. If it’s particularly hot or dry outside, you may need to water more frequently.
The best way to tell if your plants need watering is to check the soil. Stick your finger in the soil next to the plant – if it’s dry to the touch, it’s time to water.
Over-watering can be just as harmful to your plants as under-watering, so make sure you’re not giving them too much water. If the soil is soggy or wet, leave watering for another day.
How much is 1 to 2 inches per week?
You might be asking ‘what does it mean to give my tomatoes an inch or two of water per week’? It’s hard to measure precisely! The best way is to set up a sprinkler to give your tomato plants a direct sprinkle of water for about 15 to 30 minutes per week, depending on your sprinkler head’s output.
How to Water Tomato Plants in a Raised Bed
Watering your plants sounds simple, but you actually have several methods to choose from.
Manually water with a hose
Using your garden hose – or watering can – is the most common method, but it can be time-consuming. And you’ll need to remember to water every day or every couple of days.
Use a sprinkler system
You can manually set up a garden sprinkler a couple of times a week to semi-automate your tomato gardening watering. The packaging of your sprinkler should give you directions and estimations on how long to water your plants. When in doubt, sprinkling your plants for 15 to 30 minutes per week should suffice.
Use a drip system
You can set up an automatic drip system to water your tomatoes. It takes some time to set up, but you won’t have to remember to water your plants. You’ll also have the benefit of providing consistent moisture for your tomato plants, which will prevent them from turning mealy.
Important Growth Tips for Tomatoes
Here are some extra tips to get the most out of your tomato plants in raised containers.
Choosing the Right Equipment
Make sure your raised bed is big enough for tomato plants. They need plenty of space to spread out and build a strong root system.
Ensure proper drainage
You’ll also need to make sure you have good drainage. Tomatoes don’t like sopping wet soil, so raised beds with drainage holes are ideal.
Optimal Direct Sunlight
Tomatoes need direct sunlight for at least six to eight hours a day. If you live in an area with hot summers, you might need to provide some afternoon shade for your plants.
Make sure you’re using high-quality tomato soil and fertilizer according to package directions. Tomatoes are heavy feeders and need lots of nutrients to produce a big harvest.
As we mentioned earlier, how often you water your tomatoes depends on the weather and the type of soil you have. Checking the moisture level of your soil daily is a good idea.
Watering in the morning is also a best practice for tomato gardeners. This gives them plenty of moisture to make it through the hottest part of the day.
You can also add mulch onto the top of your soil to help retain moisture.
Choose the right variety
Not all tomatoes do well in containers. Choose a variety that is specifically bred for container gardening, such as ‘Patio,’ ‘Pixie,’ or ‘Tiny Tim.’
The Bottom Line
Now that you know how often to water your tomatoes in raised garden beds, it’s time to get out there and start gardening! With a little care and attention, you’ll be able to enjoy a bountiful harvest of fresh tomatoes all season long.