For those who are lucky enough to have a holiday of course, here is a way of making a holiday watering system for tomatoes.

Being away from home, and away from your precious plants can be a worrying time. Did I forget to turn off the heating and lock the front door? or more importantly… I hope the battery lasts in the automatic watering timer!

I spent the week leading up to last year’s holiday sorting out the automatic watering system which took a lot longer to put together than expected. Fortunately, it did work as planned and all of my plants were fine.

Holiday Watering System for Tomatoes

If you are away from home for a week or so, I can recommend the Hozelock AC1 timer because it worked well for me. The only problem is setting up the tubes, drippers and connections to it that’s tricky.

I’ve tried the expensive and cheap watering kits (the tubing, drippers and connectors) and I haven’t found much difference between the two – just make sure that the connections are secure. Dipping the ends of the tubes in hot water (from the kettle) makes it easier to connect the drippers if connections are tight.

Other options include a self watering system using capillary matting.
Place plants on a large tray covered in capillary matting and use a long piece of the matting – as a wick – place one end under the matting on the tray, the other end in a bucket of water.

As the matting on the tray dries out, water from the bucket replaces it and the pots sitting on the matting are kept watered.

Quadgrow Planter with reservoir watering system.

A similar option is using a reservoir of water beneath a pot and the water is drawn upwards as in the Quadgrow Planter system.

Or, ask a friendly neighbour to water your plants … perhaps on the promise of tomatoes later in the season may be a possibility, or just sit the large pots in trays of water and hope to get home before the plants dry-out, that one’s probably the last resort!

2 Responses

  1. Dave F
    | Reply

    Hi Nick, fantastic site, thank you.
    With regards to automatic watering I have done mine a bit different, I use Hoselock 13mm main pipe and I also use the 4mm Hoselock pipe to feed Gardena drippers, Gardena drippers have an outlet size of 4.6mm, so if you use Hoselock pipeing at 4mm the connection is better, does not fall off. Also when you fit the 13mm pipe to joints etc useing hot water thats fine, but when the greenhouse gets very hot and the timer starts the water flow the pipes shot off, I fitted half inch jubilee clips to all the 13mm connections and it solved the problem. As regards to watering tomatoes, I use buckets with a 1inch hole in the bottom with a 15in x 3in capilary strip aprox 10in in pot and 5in pocking out the bottom, I then pour water with feed into the long black trays that the buckets sit in and my tomatoes are 6foot tall and looking great, to water the buckets automaticly in the trays I use 1 pipe with several drippers to top up the water in the trays.
    All the best

    Dave F

  2. Mark D
    | Reply

    I like to mix a little water-retaining “swell gell” into the potting compost to give the plants an extra reserve of moisture.

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