By Clint Thompson
Rainy days and wet field conditions add up to a frustrating summer for Alabama’s vegetable and specialty crop producers.
“Soaking wet,” describes David Lawrence, regional Extension agent for commercial horticulture in middle Alabama. “Everything’s under water. Guys are having a hard time getting in the field, falling behind. Disease pressure is through the roof right now. Yep, soak and wet.”
The summer rains not only impact the crops in the ground but prevents growers from getting into the field to apply timely fungicide applications, which protect against diseases. That is one reason disease pressure is higher than normal.
The saturated conditions are also impacting the fall crops, specifically pumpkins in counties like Autauga, Bibb, Chilton, Elmore, Jefferson, Lowndes, Montgomery, Shelby and St. Clair; counties where Lawrence oversees.
“Fall plantings are going in. For fall harvests, vegetables are going in right now, if they can get them in,” Lawrence said. “If they already had the ground worked, they can get them in the ground, maybe. Pumpkins are planted right now, and that’s kind of an issue with those right now. They don’t like wet ground, and they haven’t been able to dry out. A lot of those are falling off. If we can get through this, maybe it’ll be a little bit better moving forward.”