CSU & Local Farmers Speak to Heavy Rainfall
How May showers are impacting Boulder County's agriculture
From the Boulder County Farmers' Market 5/21 newsletter. Sign up for market news here.
From Adrian Card, CSU Extension:
"Boulder County and other Northern Colorado growers have been adversely impacted by excessive spring moisture, cooler temperatures and lack of sun shine. These conditions have not been seen in 20 years...BCFM customers should anticipate a short delay in cool season crops (greens, broccoli, carrots, beets, etc.) arriving to market from area farms. Cool season crops can tolerate nighttime lows down to 40F and not slow growth. Some of these have had slow growth in the field and others have been delayed in planting so far in May. This may create a summer gap in supply for field grown cool season crops. That gap would be filled by hoophouse and greenhouse grown crops which are less effected.
The picture with warm season crops (tomatoes, peppers, melons, summer squash, etc.) is less clear. Warm season crops want nighttime lows to remain above 50F or they will slow or stop growth or become stunted due to chilling injury. A few growers got some of the warm season crops into the fields as transplants. Those transplants now are shocked by the cold night-time temperatures as they dip below 50F even under row covers. These plants may not fare well and not produce the desired yields and fruit quality.
Growers who have waited to plant warm season crops are faced with waiting for fields to dry down sufficiently for human and tractor operations. When this will happen is anyone's guess. Next week's high temps are forecasted to rebound to a normal high in the low 70s, however the chance of rain remains. Keep your fingers crossed for a drier and warmer weather pattern for your local growers!"
From Chet Anderson, The Fresh Herb Company in Longmont:
"Too much water. The ground is totally saturated and it makes it impossible to get into the fields to plant. Clayed ground is particularly troubling as it will take weeks to dry out enough to get back in and work the ground to plant. Look for big production gaps mid-summer."
From Michelle Miller, Miller Farms in Platteville:
"The rain is setting our crops back about one to two weeks although it helped the garlic, which we will have at the markets this weekend! It's not all bad!"
From Allison Edwards, Sol Y Sombra Farm in Hygiene
"Right now it's keeping us from getting into the field to sow our summer crops and continue transplanting and laying out the rest of our irrigation. We direct sow our flowers seeds for our bouquets and at this point they would wash away to New Mexico..But we did get one field planted of corn in between the storms..so that was a huge positive."
From Wyatt Barnes, Red Wagon Organic Farm in Longmont
"Normally successions of lettuce and other crops are planted every 10-15 days. On our farm about half the 30 acres needs to be planted between May 15 and June 10th. We are losing time and will struggle to get everything planted when it dries out. Our crew is pretty efficient and can plant over 10,000 transplants in a day with 3 people. I anticipate long 12-14 hour days for some of the crew and a few weekends to work towards catching up if it ever dries out. At Red Wagon we are behind. We are especially behind on broccoli, and cauliflower. These were started in a greenhouse but it has been too wet to get them in the ground. We keep two farm locations because the one farm drains much more quickly than the other. The amount of rain we have had has completely overcome the ability of the ground to absorb it."
From Calvin Cook, Arrowhead Dahlias in Platteville
"All this moisture has been wonderful but it is hard to get our crop planted. We are behind planting many flowers. The field has to be dry enough to get in with the tractor. All this rain makes it difficult!"
From Cindy Jones, Colorado Aromatics in Longmont
"Lavender likes a dry climate. Ours has been sitting in mud for weeks so I am concerned about its growth this season. Many of the other herbs are flourishing though such as mint, parsley and lemon balm. The weeds seem to have no problem, and it's impossible to stay ahead of them. My hope it to try to get as many as possible pulled before they flower and reproduce too much."