Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

Local News

July 23, 2013

Recent rain didn’t lengthen summer growing season

JACKSONVILLE — Area produce sellers have said that the recent bouts of rain have helped give their gardens a bit of a boost, but did not necessarily extend the summer growing season.

“It really didn't extend the growing season for us, at least not by much … plants take time to recover and begin production again, and the temps just go back up and shut production down again,” said Trish Whitinger, who with her husband Dave, run “A Time to Farm,” a 90-acre natural homestead in Jacksonville.

Whitinger has been “acting as market manager” for farmers markets in Jacksonville and Rusk, assisting Lois Hutson, a Lone Star Military farm specialist who coordinates the summer projects.

As a result, farmers “know that's how things are, and we just plan for it,” grateful for the excess produce they harvested this summer, she said.

Tony King, who – with his wife Jo – operates Hall's Produce Stand on U.S. Highway 69 South, between Jacksonville and Rusk, said the more mature tomatoes on his plants were damaged by the rain, describing how “the rains cool them too quickly,” bursting the skin.

He also lost cantaloupes during that same time, but produce like peas “are doing all right,” he said. “(The rain) will help the peas and squash for a while. It ended up getting too hot for the beans, but you can have squash and peas for a pretty long time.”

According to a Texas AgriLife crop and weather report filed last month by Robert Burns, “As thunderstorms pushed through the area, most of the region received rain, from 0.2 to 5 inches,” with heavier rains greatly improving growing conditions, according the site www.agrilife.org.

While downed treas wreaked havoc on fence lines, “hay harvesting was in full swing with good quality and quantity reported,” Burn reported. “The harvesting of vegetables and blackberries continued with fair to excellent results. Farmers were starting to market vegetable crops such as squash and onions. Some farmers were preparing to dig potatoes.”

Vegetable production, Whitinger pointed out, naturally slows down in the heat.

“When plants get stressed because of the heat and lack of rain, they shut down production or just die,” she said. “Even with extra rain, many crops will take many weeks to recover, while some won't recover at all.”

Some, like eggplant and okra, “keep growing no matter what, so eggplants and peppers are happy with the rain,” she said. “For the next two weeks, I expect the farmers to have purple hull peas, pinto beans, zipper cream peas, eggplant, sweet and hot peppers, watermelons, and the last of the tomatoes.”

Farmers will continue offering fresh produce at local markets through the remainder of the month – Tuesdays in Jacksonville and Thurs-days in Rusk – then will take a break until the beginning of October, when they begin selling harvest from their fall crops, which already have benefitted from the recent rains.

“Where it really makes the difference is in the new crops that have been sown. Farmers must plan crops about three months in advance of selling them. As you can imagine, it is very hard to start plants when it is dry and 100 degrees out. Lots of farmers in the area won't even try for fall crops under those conditions. This year has really been ideal for getting those pumpkins and fall crops started,” Whitinger said, who added that five inches of rain fell at the family farm last week. “We're very grateful for the weather, and are excitedly anticipating a very productive fall market.”

While “we have no control over the weather,” King said, “we'll manage if the good Lord lets us.”

Text Only
Local News
  • RuskProtestMain.tif Rusk protest highlights views concerning border issues

    Several Texans gathered Saturday in Rusk -- not only to protest the recent federally-sponsored flood of illegal immigrants into the U.S., but to demand state officials to do something about it.
    Nearly 20 concerned citizens gathered at the intersection of U.S. highways 69 and 84 Saturday afternoon, waving flags and hand-lettered signs asking for secure borders and better action on the matter.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • RISD board mulls $16M budget

    Local school board members are considering a $16,671,955 proposed general fund budget for Rusk ISD's upcoming fiscal year – which begins Sept. 1 – but are nowhere near close to adopting the budget, said Lesa Jones, assistant district superintendent for finance and operation.

    July 22, 2014

  • National Night Out to return to Jacksonville

    National Night Out ( NNO) festivities will be returning  to Jacksonville this year.
    Jacksonville Police Crime Prevention Officer Detective Tonya Harris said all Jacksonville residents are encouraged to participate this year by sponsoring or attending a National Night Out party on Oct. 7.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tina_Baggett.tif Gallatin resident seeks help with expenses after diagnosis

    A Gallatin woman and longtime employee at Prosperity Bank is about to undergo the first stage of procedures for stem cell harvesting.
    Tina Baggett, 51, became unable to work in February due to complications from multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bullard group rallies behind alcohol petition

    A petition calling for a city-wide city election this November that would make all areas of Bullard wet, including those which fall in Cherokee County, has proven successful, as more than the required 221 signatures have been collected.

    July 19, 2014

  • mom and kids_6776.tif Jacksonville woman celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends

    Ethel Terry, a lifelong resident of Jacksonville, celebrated her 100th birthday with an open house on July 15 at the Twin Oaks Care Facility in Jacksonville.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cemetery grass.tif Extra rainfall produces more abundant lawns, extends hay season

    Steady periods of rain this summer have been a homeowner's dream, as lawns appear more lush than in previous years.
    But for city workers, that same growth has taken on nightmarish proportions.
    “It's a maintenance nightmare,” said Ben Briley, director of the City of Jacksonville Parks and Recreation Department.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee County arrests: July 8-14

    The Daily Progress will publish a list of arrests from the Cherokee County Sheriff's Office on a weekly basis.

    July 19, 2014

  • Detective recovers nearly $7K in case

    When a Jacksonville woman became a victim of a scam, Jacksonville Police Detective Greg Compton stopped at nothing to solve the case.
    In early January, Compton said a neighbor of a 94-year-old woman reported that someone had “taken advantage of her.”

    July 17, 2014

  • Bullard ISD names interim leader

    During a meeting Monday night, the Bullard ISD Board of Trustees appointed Joe Dan Lee as Interim Superintendent.

    July 17, 2014