Watering plants is a complex exercise where many variables come into play. What’s your soil? What is the variety of the plant? What time of the day is it? Do you feel like watering when it’s hot and you’d rather be inside in the air conditioned house watching tv? Eventually, after many seasons, you develop a sixth sense about it and your garden thrives. Until then however, you are a novice and you depend on the advise from people who have killed more plants than you have.
For tomatoes, one rule of thumb I often read is: Tomatoes need 1 inch of rain per week. Well that’s all fine and dandy but if it doesn’t rain then you have to figure out what an inch of rain means in terms of volume; one gallon, two gallons, 6 liters? Well, as it turns out, the answer depends on how much area you need to water.
When the weather guy on tv tells me that it rained an inch last night, he means that if the water did not go anywhere and just collected, there would be one inch of water standing in my yard. Now you see why the area matters. If I collect all the water from 1 inch of rain from a large yard, it will be more volume of water than if I collect it from a small yard.
So, I went outside and drew a 12 inch circle around one of my tomato plants and imagined that there was a cylinder 12 inches in diameter and one inch high. A little math and voila! I had my answer: 113.14 cubic inches or approximately one half American Gallon of water (British Gallons are different and that’s why I like the Metric system better). This is about 1.8 liter.
HALF A GALLON A WEEK!!!??? Are they crazy!? Even with mulch my tomatoes would die if I only gave them half a gallon of water a week! In the nasty, 100+ degree (F) weather we get around here in the Summer, I would have to do half a gallon every day.
Here’s a more detailed chart on watering tomatoes that I got from the Allotment Vegetable Growing website. It’s in liters and pints. Here in the U.S. one gallon equals eight pints.
|Weather Conditions||Liters per Day||Pints per Day|
|Very dull, cloudy or dull for most of the day||0.14 -0.28||0.25 – 0.50|
|Fairly dull, overcast for most of the day||0.28 -0.42||0.50 -0.75|
|Fairly sunny, cloudy at points with bright periods||0.71 – 0.85||1.25 – 1.50|
|Sunny, just occasional cloud cover||1.10 -1.20||2.00 -2.25|
|Very sunny, clear blue skies all day.||1.50 -1.80||2.75 -3.25|
Of course, none of this means a hill of beans if you’re growing your tomatoes in a bucket.
After much deliberation I chose the Nikon D5000 with an 18-55mm lens. I had originally looked into a 4/3 micro type of camera but at the end this Nikon won me over with all it’s features. I bought it at lunch time today and I can’t wait to get home and play with it.