Tomato plants: ‘Ideal’ watering method to ‘prevent root diseases’ and ‘soil borne pests’

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Tomato plants need to be watered regularly to keep the soil or compost evenly moist. Fluctuating moisture levels can cause problems with the fruit such as blossom end rot or splitting. According to gardening experts, the “ring culture method” is the best way to keep tomato plants hydrated.

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The experts at Rhino Greenhouses Direct said: “Tomato plants are thirsty plants, but you can also easily overwater them causing rot.

“If possible, we recommend the ring culture method by placing the potted plants on capillary matting or pea gravel.

“By watering the matting or gravel, the plant can absorb as much or as little water as it wants to.”

This method can help prevent root diseases and soil borne pests.

Tomato plant ring culture allows roots access to a large volume of water and nutrients while being grown in a soil medium.

The experts added: “Simply put, the tomato plant is grown in a bottomless ring or pot that is partially submerged in a water retaining base.

“Because tomato plants have strong root systems with an ample tap root, tomato ring culture growing is an ideal method for cultivation in the greenhouse.”

Ring culture can also be used for other types of plants.

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This includes sweet peppers and chillies.

The gardening experts continued: “Ring culture pots can be purchased, or any nine to 10 inch container with the bottom cut out can be used.

“The aggregate can be gravel or perlite.

“You can dig a trench and fill it with polythene and washed gravel or sand…very simply, a gravel filled tray can suffice for tomato ring culture growing or even a 70-litre bag of compost or a grow bag upended.”

Gardeners should keep the gravel moist and water the tomato plants growing in ring culture two to three times a week.

The plants should be fed twice a week.

Rhino Greenhouses added: “Once the final tomato has been harvested, remove the plant, easing the roots from the gravel and toss away.

“The aggregate can be reused for successive crops once it has been cleaned and disinfected for years to come.”

Tomato blight is also a common disease that attacks the foliage and fruit of tomatoes, causing rotting.

It is most common in warm, wet weather.

In some cases, gardeners may lose their whole tomato plant.

To help prevent blight, plants should be kept well ventilated and dry.

It also helps to water the fruit in the morning to allow it to dry out throughout the day.

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