Rain a boon to fruit, a bane to grain

    A flash flood warning is in effect for Greater Philadelphia again today, after record rainfall in June and July and the area’s rainiest day ever earlier this week.

    Still, the wet weather isn’t all bad.

    Farmers in Gloucester County are reaping the upside of downpours and a July heat wave with unusually large and sweet peaches, says Michelle Casella of the county’s agricultural cooperative extension:

    “Back when they were pollinated and just starting to form when they were very tiny in June, then it was cloudy and rainy and there was a lot of water going up into the plant.”

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    But Montgomery County extension agricultural educator Andrew Frankenfield says the rainy weather has not been kind to corn and soybean growers who need dry soil to plant.

    “The heavy rains came – two, three, four inches sometimes – really quickly,” he said. “And, unfortunately, the soil stayed wet, the seeds rotted, and they had to replant.”

    Gloucester County’s Casella adds that most farmers have fared better than they might have yeas got thanks to strategies that stop excess water from causing plant roots to rot and fungus to grow. 

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