Tomato irrigation: 4 watering points that every farmer should know
Tomato is highly cultivated crop in India and is commonly used for culinary purposes. In order to continue sound production, one needs to understand its basic requirements which are framed in this article for those who need to focus on simple management practices.
Tomato plants require abundant water: A mature tomato plant needs at least one gallon of water especially when the sun is at its peak. Consistent watering is a must for tomato cultivation. If you water your plants once in a day, it may overstress the plants leading to limited yield. Tomatoes need continuous watering with well-drained soil. So ensure that your tomato garden bed can drain water perfectly and let the plants breathe air under the surface of the soil. On the other hand, overwatering leads to rotting of fruits and flowers hence, maintaining a healthy watering system is required for proper moisture.
Water holding capacity of soil can be increased: Soil needs organic manure to retain and hold much of the water for plants. In order to keep the soil moist, you can use mulch and compost that hold water for longer duration and feed the roots of plants even when water is not provided. This increases the use of soil organic matter which leads to improved soil structure, better productivity, and quality tomatoes. Apart from moistening the soil, organic matters also help increasing soil quality which is provided to plants as nutrition.
Water requirement of each plant varies: Each tomato plant needs different water requirement as per its height, climate, and soil type. On an average, tomatoes require 1-1.2 inches of water in a week. For proper watering, farms are equipped with sprinklers, drip and flooding techniques that satisfy the plant’s needs. Flooding and Sprinkler are widely used methods for watering the plants, but the risk is of attracting diseases because plants get water from top to bottom. An efficient method of watering is drip irrigation that provides complete moisture to plants, but material and labor cost in drip irrigation increases considerably. During rains, it is important to cover the tomato plants to avoid the plants to rot and die.
Poor water management creates problems: Due to water stress, tomatoes suffer from physiological problems. The most common are flowering that aborts without fruiting. Continuous fluctuation of water or overstressed watering affects fruit development and inappropriate calcium intake by roots. During fruit growth, it is important not to fluctuate the amount of watering to the plants because fruits may end up being cracked from inside. Also, rain or prolong foliar wetting would encourage diseases and crack.