Watering Requirements of Peppers and Tomatoes in a Raised Bed (Northeast Summer)
Hi, I\'ve done a lot of research and I am still struggling with the correct approach: I have Peppers and Tomatoes growing in raised beds planted with bagged rich organic soil. They are growing in full sun. As for watering needs I have a drip system which I can precisely control the timing. Initially, I was keeping the soil moist all the time. However, out of concern for over watering I cut back and let the soil dry out to a couple inches below the surface. Regarding The 1 inch of recommended watering per week, does that apply to both Tomatoes and Peppers? Additionally, does that mean I should treat each plant as a sq ft.? or water the whole bed 1 inch per sq ft. because the root system encompasses that whole space based on correct plant spacing. Thanks!! Sam
I've always heard that general watering is one inch to the root system weekly. If growing in rows, that means the entire space of the row receives one inch. Those who use soaker hoses place them 12 inches apart. Of course, once the water soaks in, in moves sideways as well as downward. One inch weekly is a starting point. In hot, windy or dry weather, more is needed. Tomatoes often require close to 2 inches weekly and should not be allowed to dry out. Many perennials and house plants need to dry between waterings but not vegetables. If you inspect the plants daily for the start of disease or pest infestations, you'll see the leaves droop and start to curl when they need water. However, on very hot days even well watered plants wilt under the scorching sun; if they recover in the evening then water is not needed. If growing in sandy soil or in containers, water use is much higher. A raised bed drains more quickly than in-ground plantings. However, peat moss holds water longer than plain dirt which is why many gardeners add it to their soil. I think watching your plants, mulching to keep moisture from evaporating and gaining experience with your soil will solve your mystery. Unfortunately, there is no pat answer.