By Clint Thompson
Specialty crop growers prefer the current dry weather conditions when producing their crops. They want to apply the water needed which helps avert the buildup of disease pressure.
It is especially true during the fall season says South Georgia vegetable farmer Sam Watson.
“I grow vegetables, so I’m okay with the dry weather. We get to put the water that we want and when and how we want it. I don’t have to worry about all the diseases. Spraying is easier. Picking is easier,” Watson said. “In the fall it’s okay. You’ve got to have a little bit of rain in the springtime. You need the moisture, because it’s so much hotter.”
Watson, managing partner of Chill C Farms in Moultrie, Georgia, produces squash, zucchini, bell pepper, cabbage, eggplant and cucumbers. Moultrie (Colquitt County) is located in Southwest Georgia where most of the region is abnormally dry, according to last Thursday’s release of the U.S. Drought Monitor. The cooler temperatures so far this fall have helped offset the lack of rainfall.
“Temperatures this fall have been on the cooler side. If it was hot, we’d probably could use a little bit (of rain). But it’s really helped on the quality,” Watson said. “The problems in the field have been minimal. Any time it rains you have more issues.
“You start talking about stuff like phytophthora, that’s all moisture driven. We’ve had basically none of that since it’s been dry. We’ve had other stuff, but nothing like we normally do when it’s raining.”
The frost-like temperatures the region experienced a couple of weeks ago did slow down Watson’s crops but nothing catastrophic, he added.