THIS SEASON was largely a bust for Raleigh, N.C., farmer Roger Ball, whose main crop is strawberries.
It has been way too wet in the Carolinas this season, but on the bright side, the water situation looks good for fall fruits and vegetables... as long as it doesn’t start raining again.
“Our soil moisture is good,” said James Sharp of Fresh-Pik Farms, a fruit and vegetable operation in Kenly, N.C. “I am sure we have a good high water table.”
He was looking forward to a good season for his fall crops. Fall collards were one crop that appeared in position to finish strong, he said.
“We plant collards in the spring,” he said when he spoke to Southeast Farm Press on Sept. 10. “But then around Sept. 1, we planted some additional acres. The small collard transplants are coming up now.”
He might have collards to harvest as late as Christmas, and that's good because the demand is there.
“It is one of the markets that is expanding,” he said. “It is considered a health food, like any of the greens, and I think we can sell plenty more this year.”
He also planted fall mustard and fall romaine, which he planned to start harvesting Oct. 1.
In South Carolina, collards and turnips were just beginning to arrive on the Florence market, and more were still in the field. “They could benefit from all the rain,” said Tre Coleman,manager of the S.C. state farmers market at Florence. “There is plenty of soil moisture, so neither crop should be stressed.”
Southern farmers learned this year, if they didn't know already, that some fruits and vegetables do better in periods of heavy rain than others.