Recent heavy rains hurt some East Texas produce growers, help ot - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

Recent heavy rains hurt some East Texas produce growers, help others

SFA Horticulture professor Dr. Jared Barnes shows of the success and failures of the Sprout Education Garden as a teaching tool on the benefits of good drainage and raised beds. (Source: KTRE Staff) SFA Horticulture professor Dr. Jared Barnes shows of the success and failures of the Sprout Education Garden as a teaching tool on the benefits of good drainage and raised beds. (Source: KTRE Staff)
The tomato crop is thriving in well drained sections of the garden. (Source: KTRE Staff) The tomato crop is thriving in well drained sections of the garden. (Source: KTRE Staff)
But yellow wilted leaves and rotting fruit are found in the garden’s lower spots. (Source: KTRE Staff) But yellow wilted leaves and rotting fruit are found in the garden’s lower spots. (Source: KTRE Staff)
Vendors at the Nacogdoches Farmer’s Market say more than 15 inches of rain in May put them behind in planting crops and working fields. (Source: KTRE Staff) Vendors at the Nacogdoches Farmer’s Market say more than 15 inches of rain in May put them behind in planting crops and working fields. (Source: KTRE Staff)
NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) -

Thanks to a week of sunshine, truckloads of East Texas produce can be found at farmer's markets across the region. While the excessive moisture was easily dealt with by some growers, it was a hindrance for others.

"Don't they just look great? Look at 'em,” said Dr. Jared Barnes, an associate horticulture professor at Stephen F. Austin State University.

Barnes loves showing off the vegetable plants thriving in the Sprout Educational Garden.

"These tomatoes here. You can really see and appreciate how much water we've had recently has really helped them grow and get large,” Barnes said.

But Barnes doesn't necessarily want the perfect garden. He pointed out a lot can be learned from problem areas.

“Let's look at those now,” Barnes said.

He went to a low spot in the garden.

"We see we've got lower leaf yellowing,” Barnes said. “Some of them, they've even started to rot. These plants were just inundated with water and so the roots could not breathe because they were just sitting in water."

A few peppers are struggling too.

“This right here got drowned out and so it ended up dying,” Barnes said.

Just feet away in the garden are taller pepper plants which have been producing for two weeks. It's a demonstration of the benefits of proper drainage and raised beds.

“It really helps gardeners out if they're struggling with water issues,” Barnes said.

At the Nacogdoches Farmer's Market, you won't find a vendor complaining about the rain because they all went through the drought of 2011, but they will say the rains in May did create some challenges.

George Partin said excessive rainfall stunted growth and lowered quality.

"I plowed half of my watermelons up the first of the week,” Partin said.

Other commercial growers said over 15 inches of rain slowed down the harvest.

Without the sun our tomatoes haven't ripened like they usually would,” said Teresa Millard, a produce vendor.

"Peas and all that will be late this year due to all the rain,” said Lori Crawford, a produce farmer. “But it's still good. I'm not going to complain."

On the bright side, cooler soil temperatures may extend the growing season, allowing gardeners to catch up from the wet spring. The latest Texas crop report from Texas AgriLife says many plants will recover as soils dry out...

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