When is the best time to water tomato plants, morning or night? What about feeding them?
The Gardener’s Answer
Hello, Kenneth: There is not much that can equal the taste of a home-grown tomato! As gardeners it is up to us to make sure they are planted in optimal growing conditions and receive adequate nutrients as well as moisture. As with all plantings, it is best to water early in the morning so the sun and heat of the day allow the foliage to dry out and prevent potential disease. It is in the best interest of the plants only to water the soil and to avoid overhead watering. When we water later in the day and water the leaves, this makes them more susceptible to mildew and fungal problems. As far as fertilizing your tomatoes, it is best to amend the existing soil with compost or a well-balanced fertilizer before planting. This will ensure that the plants have the essential nutrients they need for fruit set. They can then be fertilized as they begin to produce fruit. A well-balanced fertilizer is fine such as 10-10-10 but too much nitrogen (the first number N-P-K) can cause leafy growth and prevent fruiting, so avoid using any fertilizer with a high nitrogen number. Espoma has an organic fertilizer for tomatoes called Tomato-Tone (4-7-10). This can be used as a side dressing after the first fruit set and then every three to four weeks. As with any product, always follow recommended application rates.