Weather has wreaked havoc on one South Georgia farmer’s fall vegetable production.
Sam Watson, managing partner of Chill C Farms in Colquitt County, Georgia, said his crop has not progressed as far along as it should have by this point in the growing season. He’s concerned a potential frost could derail his plans for a productive fall season.
“We’re Oct. 9 and not even halfway with our crop. It’s all going to depend on the weather. If we get an early frost, then we’re all going to be in trouble. It’s not going to matter what the market is because we’re not going to get our crop harvested,” Watson said. “(I’m a) little bit nervous about that. Everybody is just really late.”
Watson produces squash, zucchini, bell pepper, cabbage, eggplant and cucumbers in Colquitt County, Georgia, one of the leading vegetable-producing counties in the state. From the first day of planting until now, though, almost a month removed from the remnants of Hurricane Sally, weather challenges have been almost unbearable for producers like Watson.
“Our stuff, it was stressed when we put it out because of the high heat temperatures. Then it got saturated. It wouldn’t quit raining. Then it turned off cold,” Watson said. “When it’s overcast and cloudy, bees don’t pollinate, the stuff doesn’t grow. It’s got to have sunshine. It’s been like the rest of 2020, it’s been crazy.”
The unpredictability of the weather has delayed progress of Watson’s vegetables and has put them at risk if there is an early frost. According to weather.com, the upcoming forecast for Moultrie, Georgia includes low temperatures of 56 degrees F on Friday and 55 degrees on Saturday.
“We should be at the halfway point and blowing and going. We just started (last week) with pepper. I should have been in pepper probably two weeks ago,” Watson said.
“We’ve got some squash that we just started, we’ve got squash that we haven’t even started yet. We’ve got a lot of stuff that we haven’t even touched yet. They’re talking cooler weather (this week). I don’t know, we’re just going to have to see what happens.”