Protecting plants from the heat

August 2, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Plants across the Central Valley are feeling the effects of this heat wave. Small farmers say they are turning to water and shade to help produce survive.

As hot sun shines over Sanger, friends and family members work around the clock to pick produce before the summer sun causes any damage. While some crops like chilies like the heat, for others, it's simply too much.

"The green bean they are just small and it's too hot on the ground so they do not survive," said Tria Yang, farmer.

Yang says when it gets to be more than a hundred degrees, he grows more concerned. As a small farmer, his vegetables are his livelihood. To help produce survive, he waters more often and for a longer period of time.

Over in Kingsburg at KMK Organic Farms, Kyle Reynolds says water and shade is key this time of the year, especially when it's a 100 plus.

"So if we keep them wet with cool water they can survive it and it's the Valley heat that makes things grow here," said Kyle Reynolds, farmer.

Reynolds and his family grow more than 40 different organic fruits and vegetables on their small farm. He says besides the water, a shade cover has played a big role in keeping heat sensitive produce like bell peppers from baking.

"This is obviously under the shade," Reynolds said pointing out a bell pepper with no flaws. "This one's on the outside where the sun hits it. The sun hits it on a day like today and it's done, unsellable, inedible," Reynolds said.

He says his investment in a shade cover has paid off.

"If you just take the edge off the Valley sun most Valley crops thrive in that," Reynolds said.

He says the sun is a powerful tool and he just hopes Mother Nature will give Valley residents a break soon.

"It's been a nice summer. This is only the second spell. I hope we have no more because it is tough to work in and it is hard on the vegetables. Ninety degrees is ideal," Reynolds said.

Experts say plants start shutting down at 102 degrees. If the heat continues or intensifies that could be a hard hit for local farmers.

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