Farmers battle soggy fields - 19 Action News|Cleveland, OH|News, Weather, Sports

Farmers battle soggy fields

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Rain, rain go away.  Everyone's grass is nice and green, but local farmers are in all out soggy battle to get their late summer, early fall crops planted and keep what they have already planted healthy and ready for harvest. 

Fitch's Farm Market in Avon is a seventh generation farm, and so far is standing up to the fifth wettest June on record, and no let up so far in July.

"The biggest problem is trying to get the rest of the stuff planted, like some of our later season peppers and tomato plants," said Adam Fitch as he toured the huge farm.

Workers, yesterday, before they got nearly another inch of rain overnight, managed to get some fall harvest tomato plants in the ground, but have only planted a few rows of late season peppers next to the summer peppers.

And the soggy ground has created more manual work to get the weeds out to ensure the plants get the proper nutrition. 

"You can't get in with the tractor to cultivate and keep the weeds out and get the fertilizer on it, to push it to grow and mature to harvest at the proper time," Fitch said.

But so far the only real fallout is that the late summer/early fall harvest may be pushed back a week or two. All of their early season crops, they say, are high quality, and a bountiful strawberry season has already come and gone. 

"It's just been a lot more work," Fitch said. "We're working the ground 3-4 times, you usually only have to work it once."

What they really need is three or four days of sunshine, so the late summer harvest is not pushed back another week or so, or worse, they start to lose crops.

"It's all Mother Nature, it's a gamble every single day," Fitch said.

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