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Recent rains take toll on crops in Oceano

“The crops struggled a little because we got so much rain,” says Tom Ikeda, a farmer in Oceano. Out in the fields, Ikeda sees first-hand what happens with too much of a good thing.

“The ground got saturated and really didn’t have a chance to drain and dry up, so the plants were growing in saturated ground,” Ikeda says.

The continuous rain last month took a toll on his crops.

Ikeda grows Chinese Napa Cabbage at this location. With so much rain so quickly, he’s worried the crops might start a process called “bolting”. That’s when the plant goes into a reproductive stage and could potentially grow into a flower. It’s something farmers don’t want.

“That’s because of all of the stress, it could be cold weather, or saturated ground, it also means it was tough to fertilize because you can’t get into the field,” Ikeda says.

Farmers like Ikeda welcome the rain but, not quite in the way it fell. “Ideally you would like some dry weather in between, but, we rather have the rain than not,” says Ikeda.

Because that dry weather didn’t happen Ikeda is watering his crops more carefully. “We are trying to put fertilizer now, the top is dry, but the bottom is wet, so it’s a fine balance to get the right amount of water,” he says.

Crops are now getting back their green color just last week they were a bit yellow. Even with all the rain that pounded the Central Coast, Ikeda is looking forward to more of it.

“Maybe not every couple of days, like we are having, but, we could use more rain,” Ikeda says.

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