Valley farmers planning future crops carefully

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Farmers around the valley are making some very important planting decisions. A drip irrigation system for individual vegetable beds helps KMK Farms of Kingsburg take advantage of every precious drop of water. (KFSN)

Farmers around the valley are making some very important planting decisions.

A drip irrigation system for individual vegetable beds helps KMK Farms of Kingsburg take advantage of every precious drop of water. "Any leaking water right now is doing us a disservice right now," farmer Chris Velez said.

He says the organic farm will idle 60 of their 80 acres this season due to dropping water tables and a dry well. "Sometimes with less ground we can manage better and we can harvest a higher quality crop," Velez said.

Each micro-plot is treated like a backyard garden and irrigated accordingly. "I'm not going to try to water onions and tomatoes on the same water system because they don't want the same needs," Velez said.

Vegetables like daikon radish and collard greens are washed off in the field. The water is eventually reused to irrigate crops. "We really want to look at how we can be most efficient and packing in the field is one of those ways," Velez explained.

Freshly planted basil is protected against frost with plastic which also helps retains moisture. "We want the plant to take the water it needs and then struggle just a tiny little bit because that's where the flavor comes from," he said.

This winter's el Nino rains quickly brought on the spinach, "We didn't water it at all. The rain did everything. We had the most beautiful crop of spinach," he explained.

Velez was in the process of removing old plastic out of the fields to get more organic matter into the dirt which he says helps the soil hold more water.
Related Topics:
foodagriculturefarmingfresno countyFresno CountyKingsburg
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