By Clint Thompson
What were hot and dry weather conditions have turned into sporadic periods of rainfall in North Georgia. That has been positive news for the state’s peach crop, says Drew Echols, owner of Jaemor Farms in Alto, Georgia, and president of the Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association.
“You catch an inch of rain on some peaches that are 3 to 4 days from being ready to harvest, you can literally get a quarter of an inch of growth on those peaches. It also helps them color up. You wouldn’t really think that, but it does speed up the process a little bit for you and gains you some size,” Echols said.
“We were dealing with a lot of medium-sized peaches prior to last week. When you start getting equal water all around the base area of the trees, that’s obviously a better situation.”
Most of North Georgia was moderately dry, according to last Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor. But rainfall has been more widespread recently, which is what Echols’ peach crop needed.
“We were bone dry until last week. So we actually started catching some showers at the most opportune time. We had been irrigating hard for about eight weeks, 24 hours a day,” Echols said. “Last week, we started catching some showers. I think we got about three inches of rain total last week.”
Echols said he will be harvesting peaches until the end of August.
“We start the last week of May and run pretty hard through the end of August,” he noted.