ST. CHARLES COUNTY, Mo. – Tom Goeke is the longtime co-owner of Herman’s Farm in St. Charles County. He said his heart goes out to farmers looking for some rain. The current drought is taking a toll in many ways, but Goeke advises backyard gardeners to avoid the temptation of watering too often.

“The worst thing you can do is overwater,” he said.

Goeke said the drought has allowed him to control how much water his plants are getting. He has an irrigation system that allows him to slowly drip water into the ground around his tomato plants.

“I’ll raise almost 50 percent more crop in conditions like this if I have access to water and I know what I’m doing,” Goeke said.

He expects his first crop of tomatoes this season to be ripe and ready for sale sometime between June 15 and June 25. The longtime farmer advises backyard gardeners to avoid pouring water on plants but instead, slowly drip the water into the ground around the plants with a drip hose.

“Water maybe every three to five days, but when you do water, you water a lot so that moisture goes down into the ground,” Goeke said.

He said pouring water on top of plants can have a harmful effect.

“You don’t realize it because you think you’re helping it, but it’s the worst thing you can do,” Goeke said.