The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

September 19, 2012

Rain helps gardners, farmers

The Daily Southerner
Calvin Adkins

TARBORO — Collards from James Hinton's Tarboro garden measure 2-feet tall and 18 to 20 inches wide. His tomato crops were as productive as ever and his fall salad will be ready in about two weeks. Hinton's garden has provided enough for his family, neighbors, and friends and he still has more than his fair share for his own table.

For Hinton, as well as all other Edgecombe County gardeners and farmers, crops are more plentiful than they have been in recent years because of the rainfall that nourished the land.

A spokesman for the National Weather Service says Edgecombe County has received a little above normal rainfall this year.

According to Edgecombe County Cooperative Extensive Director Art Bradley, almost 27 inches of rain fell on Edgecombe County from May until Tuesday. As of Tuesday, the there had been 2.48 inches of rain in September, while the lowest amount this year was in June, when 2.24 inches was reported.

"The rain has been excellent for my garden — it looks good," Hinton said. "I did very little watering this year. Everything is still growing strong compared to last year this time when the heat and the drought had taken control."

Farmers are also gloating about the rainfall. Bradley reported the harvest of tobacco, soybeans and peanut crops in Edgecombe County should be above average.

"We had a few hot and dry days in June and around the first part of July and that's about it," Bradley said. "It's been as good of rainfall that we've had as I can remember.

One crop didn't fair too well with the rain — cotton, which is one of Edgecombe County's largest crops. Bradley said the excessive rain caused cotton bolls to rot, but didn't say how extensive the damage was.

 Excessive rain also accumulated water in vicarious places which became the breeding ground for mosquitoes and triggered the threat of the West Nile Virus. Although Edgecombe County has not report any cases, the health department was put on alert.

"We've had our share of hot and dry weather," Hinton said. "This year, God blessed us with lots of rain. We should appreciate it, because we don't know what next year will bring."