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Lack of sunshine leads to stunted produce, crops for East Texans

Updated: Jun. 2, 2021 at 1:41 PM CDT
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TYLER, Texas (KLTV) - While East Texas produce stands continue to do business, many are continuing to do it without the benefit of locally grown crops.

Local harvests have been delayed due to all of the rain, and also due to something we take for granted.

Roadside stands are still selling produce, brought in from other states, while waiting on local produce to become available.

But while there’s been plenty of rain, local produce isn’t available for a simple reason.

“Right now we are missing sunshine. We have had way more rain than we need in one time period. That’s how they get their nutrients through photosynthesis,” says Gregg county Agir-life extension agent Shanequa Davis.

Some stands, dependent on local produce, haven’t even opened.

“Weather, temperatures fluctuation going high then going cool, it can cause plants to grow vigorously but then cools down and that stunts them,” Davis says.

At Hiway 80 produce in Clarksville City, owners have taken to growing what they can to offer local.

“We have a mystery garden growing. We threw some expired produce out there and its growing like crazy,” says co-owner Allison Lott.

“We’re hoping in the next week or so, we’re slowing starting to get things in, weekly,” says co-owner Julie Staples.

Another problem is soil saturation,

“If it’s staying too water-logged too moist, your roots are going to end up rotting out,” says Davis.

And bees don’t pollinate in the rain.

“If you don’t see pollinators on your plants then you’re not going to have fruit,” Shanequa says.

If plants don’t produce soon, another planting may be needed.

“There could be a possibility of a late crop, or have to start over altogether,” Davis says.

And one more problem the rain has brought. More insects.

Davis says growers should check their plants’ leaves regularly for destructive insects.

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