Local Produce Farm Survives Summer Heat - Barely

Local Produce Farm Survives Summer Heat - Barely

MGHonor Farms owner says next year he will plant earlier and put out barrels to capture rain water for irrigation.

Rhonda McCurry

Dry, hot conditions this summer have affected more than just corn and bean farmers. Clint Brauer owns MGHonor Farms near Cheney, a two-acre garden that features herbicide-free locally-grown produce. All summer long he's been worried about the impact of drought, watching his 1,150 tomato plants stop flowering and his pepper plants shrivel in the sun.

 He says a general rule of thumb for determinate, heirloom tomatoes is that growers will see 80-percent of their production in eight-week's time. The rest of the season offers about 20-percent of total production levels.

HARD SUMMER: It's been a rough summer for the chili, jalapeno, habanero and bell peppers at MGHonor Farms. Due to extreme heat, the peppers grew small with no volume on the plants. Brauer says one restaurant customer wanted 200 pounds a week but the popular produce couldn't handle the heat, which meant Brauer couldn't deliver.

If temperatures would drop to the mid-90s or lower in the daytime to 60s at night, Brauer says his plants would turn around and produce a solid fall harvest. This wish is the same for most traditional farmers across the state, which demonstrates the need for rain no matter where farmers grow crops in Kansas.

If drought conditions persist next summer, Brauer says he will catch rain in rain barrels and work up the ground early in the spring. He would also plant tomatoes earlier than ever before, estimating more produce had they been in the ground one month earlier this year.
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