Drip irrigation for tomatoes in containers
For the last few years, I've grown tomatoes on our deck in containers. They've done pretty well and I usually do a cherry variety and 2 "normal size" varieties. The deck is in full sun with 0 shade all day except for maybe the last 2 - 3 hours of sunlight when the sun gets over the roof of the house.
The pots are raised up with holes in the bottom for drainage and I water every few days with a garden hose on "shower" generally until the water starts coming out the bottom. I've always debated if I'm watering too much or when it's really hot, too little. I don't often get wilt tho since I work from home so I can check at lunch and give them water if they seem limp.
I've thought about going to some kind of drip irrigation setup for more consistency but this year, I'll be gone for 2 weeks in August and my mom is going with us so she can't water for us. So now I'm really thinking about the drip watering.
I've seen 1gph and 2gph spikes and some kits with timers and some without. Can someone tell me what I need? 1gph seems like a lot unless there's a timer to let it only run for say 2 - 3 hours / day. Is the timer required? How does it work if you don't have it, does it just drip constantly?
2 plants are in large (18 - 20 gallon?) containers, and the cherry tomatoes are in a 5 gallon pail.
thanks in advance for any advice.