Take care when watering tomatoes

Take care when watering tomatoes

Take care when watering tomatoes as it's quite a science, and the single most critical factor in whether you harvest a bumper crop of sweet juicy fruit, or a disappointing handful plagued with problems like split skins and blossom end rot.

Aim to keep the amount of water in the soil as even as possible - just moist but not wet. Letting the soil dry out before soaking it liberally means ripening fruits are drying out one minute and then flooding with water the next – a sure recipe for splitting skins. Better to top up the water content just a little as soon as it starts to fall.

It's also important to vary the amount you water according to the weather, as plants' needs increase dramatically with extra light and heat: on dull days, each tomato needs just 150ml of water, but on a sunny day this goes up to a whopping 1.5 litres.

It's also important the water you give gets where it's needed. Compost in containers is particularly prone to staying dry while water runs out the bottom. Keeping pots on saucers limits moisture run-off, and using heavier soil-based John Innes no. 3 composts when planting also helps.