tomato watering regimen?

I live in Boulder, Colorado.
I am growing four tomatoes in large 20" pots (patio; super bush; early girl improved; and super fantastic), and two tomatoes in the ground (big boy; some russian ornamental).
I have been watering all of the tomatoes like crazy, heavily every morning and on weekends again after lunch. The tomatoes look very vigorous and healthy, no yellow leaves, all have flowers and the early girl (finally) has a few tiny green tomatoes. They were all planted in late May.
But I am worried that I may be begging for problems with this watering regimen. Should I scale it back? Is it possible to over-water a plant that is in a pot with good quality potting mix? I noticed someone recommended waiting until the tomatoes begin to wilt. Now during our heat waves, that can be as little as 6 hours...
Oh, and an unrelated question: do I need to help pollinate any of the tomatoes? I've heard that hybrid varieties are self-pollinating. But would it help any for me to put on a bumblee outfit and go to town with a q-tip?
Cheers, Stephen
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Stephen Younge wrote:

Do not wait for wilt. By then, the plant has already gone on the defensive and some cell damage has occured. The key to abundant growth is uninterrupted growth and this is best accomplished (as regards the watering) by keeping the soil uniformily moist.
Tomatos are wind pollinated. As Loki suggests, if they get no breeze, give 'em a gentle shake.
Bill C
--
I do not post my address to news groups.


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I grew tomatoes in pots for 2 years, but while my plants got huge and seemed to remain healthy, I had a tremendous amount of blossom end rot - probably at least half of my tomatoes were damaged in this way. I'm sure it was partly due to the too wet too dry syndrome. This year they are in a raised bed - they're a little slower, but the proof will be in the pudding when the tomatoes start to ripen in three weeks or so. I'm in Spokane, Wa, which is somewhat similar in climate to Boulder.

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On Tue, 01 Jul 2003 03:43:45 GMT, "Stephen Younge"

I don't think so, assuming that the plants are outdoors.
I'll state this carefully: I don't think it's possible to overwater a plant in a pot, outdoors, in good potting soil. I am basing this on my success in container gardening. Well, all right, I suppose it's 'possible', but I think it's exceedingly unlikely to happen.
However, your 20" pots are WAY SMALL for full-size tomato plants and you may find yourself watering them 3 or more times a day. You'd be much better off to get the tomatoes into something larger if you can.
We grew a tomato in a pot about that size on our deck last year, and we eventually had to transplant it to a 22-gallon Rubbermaid storage tub in which we'd drilled drainage holes. The plant was five feet tall when we transplanted it, and although it was a somewhat difficult job, it didn't bother the plant at all.

No need. Tomatoes are (all) largely self-pollinating - each flower pollinates itself. Not just hybrids.
Tomatoes grown outdoors are inevitably jiggled a little by breezes - if you grow indoor tomatoes, you can just tap the plants to jiggle them a bit while they're in bloom. This is all the help they need.
I'm presently growing nine Red Robin tomatoes indoors - they are all covered with tomatoes. :) Very nice.
Pat
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I live in Boulder, Colorado.
I am growing four tomatoes in large 20" pots (patio; super bush; early girl improved; and super fantastic), and two tomatoes in the ground (big boy; some russian ornamental).
<snip>
But I am worried that I may be begging for problems with this watering regimen. Should I scale it back? Is it possible to over-water a plant that is in a pot with good quality potting mix? <snip> _______________________________________
Stephen, I have problems watering so much: the fruit gets to be watery and tasteless. Someone once told me that I was growing hydrophonic tomatoes- and boy! they sure tasted like it! Once the fruit gets to be about 1/2 as big as they're be at maturity, I cut back the watering dramatically. Good luck! skg
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On Tue, 01 Jul 2003 03:43:45 GMT, "Stephen Younge"

It should not be necessary, but if you are in the mood to help pollinate things then simply shake the plant vigourously. This loosens pollen from the stamens and deposits it on the stigma (simulates the wind, which is all that is necessary in a self-pollinating plant). -- Gardening Zones Canada Zone 5a United States Zone 3a Near Ottawa, Ontario
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Don't wait till it wilts. rather then a regimen, do it based on the needs of the plant. Its good to keep that regimen to check if it needs watering, but it may not need it every time. I grow great tomatoes in 5 gallon buckets or 5 gallon pots, but in summer heat it does require frequent watering. My rule of "thumb" is that if the soil is dry to a depth of an inch or inch and a half I water. I live in Central Texas and grew heat tolerant hybrids in 5 gallon buckets during jult and August and yes, 3 times a day was necessary on those 100 degree days. I am trying some new stuff this yr with my soil. Rather than using straight compost/potting soil mixes I am doing that with some of the native clay soil we have here. Clay tends to retain mositure better, altho it is not advisable to use in pots by itself for the reason it does not drain well. I am trying different ratios. Another thing I suggest is to use mulch. Last year i used newspaper and I will this yr as well, but also trying it with pine bark mulch. This helps retain that moisture. On a final note, there are crystals you can buy that swell up with water and release it when the soil starts to dry out. Clay pots dry out faster too, so keep that in mind.
Regards! www.texastomatoes.com

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Don't discount peat moss. I grew tomatoes last year in containers, and while it may not have been as hot as Texas, it was nearly 100 during the hot months, at near-zero humidity. I used potting soil with a fair amount of peat moss to hold the water, and I only had to water a couple of times per week during the hot months.
steve
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