Waterwalls for vegetable gardens

Asked May 4, 2015, 11:47 AM EDT

Is there evidence that waterwalls actually speed the development of tomatoes, peppers and other warm weather vegetables in Oregon?

Benton County Oregon vegetables plant protection horticulture

1 Response

Great question! I am happy to say that I found lots of references in extension literature from multiple states that mention using the wall-o-water in reference to growing tomatoes. The consensus of all I read is yes they do work. One reference suggested setting the wall up a few days before actually planting your tomato plants in order to warm the soil first. Another publication recommended being careful not to over water while using these devices and to check the soil before watering tomatoes. The information presented said that you could plant your tomatoes earlier than normal using these devices and then remove them once temperatures are consistently over 55 degrees at night. These devices keep the soil and the plant warmer than the surrounding air at night and on cool days. They also protect the plants from cool winds. Cold soils are a major obstacle to overcome when growing tomatoes and other warm weather vegetables in the Willamette valley especially as our night temperatures can dip below optimum even in our warmest months. Anything you can do to keep the soil warm will help your them be more productive. Things like planting in a raised bed, using cloches, row covers or putting down plastic mulch on top of the soil to keep the soil as warm as possible is helpful. I have also heard of people who fill empty milk jugs and place them around their plants and leave them there all summer to help with keep the soil warm. I have used the wall o water with tomatoes and found that it worked for me. I did have an unexpected experience when I removed the device. My plants flopped over totally limp but unharmed. As they had grown when they were protected from wind the stems did not develop the required stiffness to hold the plant upright when the protection was removed. I suggest that you stake the plant as it grows inside the protection to prevent this. Tomatoes are not the only plants that will benefit from this kind of help, eggplants, peppers and cucumbers also come to mind.