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9 messages
24/01/2014 at 15:31

First year growing in a greenhouse. I'm just growing tomatoes and chillies in growbags. Unfortunately we go away for two weeks every June which is no doubt an important time for the plants. How would you deal with watering during this time? It's not close enough to the house to install a mains operated irrigation system. I was going to buy water crystals and fill them with plenty of water before I go but do you think the plants will survive? I'm hoping my neighbour will help me out and do some watering.

24/01/2014 at 15:34

Tell your neighbour about this forum and then if he/she's got any problems we can help out 

I'm going away in May and will have to leave my OH to do the watering/weeding etc - he knows that if he's got a problem he has to come here and ask this lot 

24/01/2014 at 15:37

She's a lovely old lady with a very nice garden so will be very competent but I don't want to inconvenience her. A few bowls of tomatoes will make her happy though. How long can tomatoes and chillies go without water?

24/01/2014 at 15:44

A lot longer than people seem to think Jimbo - I find they do much better kept on the dry side.  I grow my tomatoes and chillies outside and even last summer I was probably only watering once or twice a week at the most, but they were in big pots.

I find that growbags just aren't big enough - are you going to get those bottomless pots to use with them?

24/01/2014 at 16:04

Ask your neighbour Jimbo, you may find she knows just what to do

24/01/2014 at 23:18

I agree with Dove , I us bottomless pots cut into the grow bags and only put 3 per grow bag . I use water crystals in hanging baskets for cherry tomatoes outside and it works well

I put my chillies in big pots at the back of the greenhouse as they seem to like it there ,  we get a neighbour to water , when we go away in the summer

I do know of somebody that rigged up an automatic watering system linked the they water butt but I'm not that DIY minded myself , much easier to ask a neighbour or friend - best of luck 

25/01/2014 at 08:05

Hi Jimbo - I had the very same situation last year. A chap at my local garden centre advised me to get a bit Blue Peter with used plastic milk cartons. once empty and washed out thoroughly you make a lid by cutting a flap around what was the base of the carton. The I drilled teeny tiny whole in the screw top lid. Plonk it screw top down in the soil, and fill with water through the flap you've made that used to be the base if the carton. The water then slowly seeps out. I managed to get it so that the water seeped out over 5 days - just long enough for a week away. I used cartons that held 4 pints. my tommies were happy as Larry when I returned. Good luck!

25/01/2014 at 09:23

You could install a watering system Jimbo.  Why not ask at your GC about this?  I dont think they are too expensive but once installed that's it.  You are set for future years too. 

25/01/2014 at 10:34

Jimbo said that the greenhouse is too far away from the house to install an automatic system 

Tomatoes are better kept on the dry side, especially in a greenhouse while he's away and not able to adjust ventilation flows etc.  

I would grow the tomatoes in large pots - ours are a bit bigger than buckets, and leave a gap of 6" between the top of the compost and the rim - then we only water when the tomato foliage begins to droop but we absolutely fill the pot to the top.  Then no more water until the foliage begins to droop again. Sometimes that will be a week later.

That regime produces tasty tomatoes, and helps guard against blight and blossom end rot.

Watering too frequently keeps the top of the compost damp resulting in making the atmosphere in a greenhouse damp and encouraging blight and other fungal problems

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