If there is one thing that can spoil a holiday, apart from the weather, it’s worrying about watering the tomatoes. So here are a few ideas for holiday watering systems.
Taps and tubing
Watering timers work well but they can be difficult to set up with the tubing and drippers. Getting the right amount of water to each plant – not to mention the possibility of battery failure is a concern.
Valves and trays
Auto watering valves in trays are also useful but require a large water tank if you are away for more than a few days – or you have a lot of trays to feed.
Wicks and reservoirs
The wick system over a reservoir is perhaps the easiest method of watering tomatoes when away – especially when it comes to setting it up with no tubing or drippers.
Other Holiday Watering Systems
The Hozelock Grow Bag Waterer and the Quadgrow Planter are both wick systems. With a few tweeks, there’s very little that can go wrong.
Here’s one basic set up that works very well for individual plants.
It’s possible to add a capillary wick (after filling the pot) by pushing a strip of capillary matting up through a hole in the bottom of a pot with a screwdriver – carefully of course!
Considering the price of a bucket and a piece of capillary matting, it’s a good value system!
If you used a wick system, you will see that roots grow down into the water below. Some roots are quite happy under water, others prefer to remain where there is more oxygen. Within a root system, root have various functions.
A Few Recent Varieties
It’s always good to try a few new varieties – this season it’s Heartbreaker Vita, Sweet Aperitif, Sweet Olive and Black Sea Man … and a few others.
Heartbreaker Vita – A small bush variety producing heart shaped cherry tomatoes with an excellent taste – good sugar/acid balance. A good yield and ideal for growing in pots on the windowsill.
Sweet Aperitif – This one is really sweet but also has a good acid content – the high level of both makes my eyes water – a high intensity tasting tom! It produces a huge yield but the tomatoes are a bit on the small side, so it’s really a cocktail variety.
I could have increased the size of the toms slightly by reducing the amount of flowers on each truss. Also, instead of feeding a high potassium feed when flowers set fruit, giving a balanced until the second truss has set often increases the fruit size slightly.
Sweet Olive – This one has been around for some time – contains a little more acid than sugar content although it’s very prolific and still has a very acceptable taste.
Black Sea Man – Advertised as a bush variety but it thinks it’s a tall variety in my garden! A lovely big, juicy black tomato (dark purple actually) with a taste that makes it all worthwhile. A wonderful taste – very sweet and juicy!
I’m really looking forward to tasting Indigo Rose. The fruit are still growing even though parts of the skin on each tomato (mainly the sides) are black – very mysterious!
Taste varies from season to season
Of course every season is different, and different growing conditions effect the intensity of the taste of each variety. A variety that tastes great this summer can be a big disappointment next season owing to the fact that taste is, to a large degree, light and temperature dependent. What a great season many of us have had so far!
If you would like to mention how your toms are performing this season, please leave a comment below.