Weather kick-starts vegetable production

04/26/2012 11:53:00 AM
Tom Burfield

Unlike last year, when a February freeze affected yields and the strength of the plants, excellent growing conditions this seasons should result in some of the best early corn the company has ever produced in terms of size and yields, Van Dyke said.

Five Crowns also will have varietal melons and cantaloupes from the Imperial Valley during May, he said.

The Coachella Valley is a major spring production area for green and red bell peppers, including shade house produce, said Jose Luis Aguiar, vegetable crops/small farm adviser for the University of California Cooperative Extension, Riverside.

The region also produces sweet corn, eggplant and mature-green tomatoes, he said, along with many watermelons, though not as many as in the past, Aguiar said.

In the Imperial Valley, Khaled Bali, irrigation and water management adviser and county director for the University of California Cooperative Extension, Imperial County, said the area is known for its sweet corn and melons at this time of year.

Keber hopes growers will have better luck during the spring than they did in the winter.

Thanks to good weather, farmers ended up growing more winter vegetables — such as celery, broccoli, lettuce and cauliflower — than they could sell.

“Everything was in the tank” after the second week of January except for corn and strawberries, he said.

The only item retailers promoted at a reasonable price during the winter was corn, he said.


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