Local gardens survive summer

Margie Plummer held her hand over her eyes, shielding the sun as she surveyed her extensive vegetable crops behind her business, Turnbough's Corner, just outside Portales.

Alisa Boswell: Portales News-Tribune

Roosevelt County gardener Margie Plummer, right, picks okra from her garden off of U.S. 70 with her grandson, Andrew Plummer, 10, on Wednesday afternoon. Plummer and other local vegetable gardeners said their vegetable plants managed to survive the summer heat with decent yields.

"The tomatoes didn't do well but everything else did good. We've had to water it constantly though," she said of her vegetables, which include squash, green beans, black-eyed peas, a variety of peppers and more.

All local summer gardens survived the hot and dry spring and summer, according to Curry and Roosevelt County gardeners, who hope their gardens will continue to fair the same, if not better, in the fall.

"Mine suffered early on because I had a hail storm that beat it to pieces," Curry County gardener and business owner Charles Guthals said of his garden. "It's much more devastating when hail hits those plants with hollow stems than it is when it hits something with a solid trunk on it."

Guthals said his squash plants, a hollow-stemmed plant, were hit hardest in the hail storms early on in the summer.

He said cantaloupe and watermelon are hollow-stemmed plants that have also done poorly this year.

"Those who didn't have hail storms have probably faired much better than those of us who did," he said.

Guthals said he has no green bean crops of his own but customers who come into his store, Guthals Nursery and Landscaping, have said their green bean crops have fared well this year.

He said one customer had canned 300 pints of green beans from his garden.

Plummer's squash fared decently over the summer and she will continue growing it through the fall.

"Last year was really bad, so this year was better, but with how dry it was still didn't help anything, so it was less than previous years," Plummer said of vegetable production. "We've had better and we've had worse. That's the farming game."

Roosevelt County resident Smokey Ball agreed with Plummer and Guthals that tomatoes seem to be the vegetable crop that has fared the worse locally this summer.

"It's not going to be a proper crop but we are going to make some off of it," Ball said of his vegetable gardens. "We had little rains but what we got has definitely helped. I just have one row (about 2,000 plants) of turnip for the fall. It will be ready the first of October."

Plummer said along with squash, she will harvest sweet potatoes, pumpkins, black-eyed peas and green beans in the fall.

Guthals said where fall crops are concerned, now is the ideal time to begin preparing the soil and planting.

He said he uses bone meal and blood meal fertilizers for his vegetable gardens, which are all natural fertilizers.

"It would not hurt (to start planting). It's a good time if your summer garden has stopped producing," Guthals said. "There's still time to plant radishes because you can make radishes in about 21 days. You can plant turnips and carrots because they can grow roots which can produce sugar because they grow further down into the soil. Spinach is another one that would do well in the fall."

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