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Heavenly Farm Report: Bad Weather Impacts Specialty Crops

Roth Countryside Produce has greenhouses  filled with tomatoes and cucumber, along with specialty crops that have been facing challenges due to inclement weather this season.

Nic Roth operates a greenhouse in Morton where he grows hundreds of tomatoes, cucumber, egg plant, peppers and more. Roth said it has been a difficult start to the season because of cold and wet conditions.

“We need warm soil to start our sweet corn and green beans. We also need warm soil to transplant our plugs from the growing house out to the soil. A lot of our peppers, eggplant, or melons, have a favorite temperature which is around 60-65 degrees for that plant to take off,” said Roth.

In Roth’s growing house, seeds are placed in a plug tray so sprouts can start.

“We grow those plants to be transplanted to one of our greenhouses where they will stay for the rest of the season or out into the field,” said Roth.

Roth took advantage of the few dry days last week and transferred sweet corn, beans, and cabbage into the field. With the soil temperature only in the mid -50’s, their growth could be stunted for the season.

Right now cucumbers and tomatoes are sprouting and should be bearing fruit after Memorial Day.

“Each individual potted plant has a drip line running down the row with a low volume emitter and that’s how i’m able to control the amount of water and fertilizer each plant gets. Most of these vegetable plants have an ideal temperature of 85 degrees. The quicker i can get to 85 degrees the quicker I can maximize that plant growth,” said Roth.

Even though it’s farmer’s market season, Roth said they won’t be able to go to market until the weather warms up.

“People are starting to notice that it’s going to be later and most of the crops haven’t even been planted yet.
I do see that the prices will probably push up because the whole corn belt has been cold and wet and that’s where most of these crops come from,” said Roth.


Heaven Richey

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