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Heat wave hurting some crops

As the heat wave continues, our area is facing heat and humidity that threaten our comfort and safety.
Published: Aug. 23, 2021 at 5:53 PM EDT
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JERUSALEM TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WTVG) - Northwest Ohio saw some of the hottest temperatures of the year on Sunday. And while high temperatures can be dangerous for people, they can also threaten crops.

“It’s all over the board as a farmer this year,” says Cindy Bench. She and her family have been farming in Jerusalem Township for decades.

The tough growing season started with lots of rain.

“We got into the fields later because it was so wet, we have heavier ground here, and a lot of the fields got drowned out,” Bench explains. “We planted and they got drowned out again, so the crops around here, some of the soybeans look really rough. What happened with a lot of the plants is that they made very shallow root systems.”

And thanks to that soggy start, she says, “Now that we’re hitting this real hot weather, there’s no good structure to the plant. Some plants don’t like this at all.”

You might have some of those plants in your own garden. Bench says the crops suffering the most right now are “pepper plants, the tomatoes, especially the viny crops. Everybody’s having trouble with their cucumbers, their zucchinis, and their squashes.”

But other crops are booming. “The sweet corn has loved it,” she says. “If you look around, the cornfields in the area, the cornfields are gorgeous.”

With a long stretch of hot weather, Bench says all you can do is water. But some parts of the area haven’t had to do that much lately.

“If you happen to get under a rainstorm, like Oregon has twice in the last week, they’ve had like 7 inches of rain in some places,” says Bench. “And the guy down the street got nothing. This type of weather is going to be random, you’re either going to get a lot, or you’re going to get nothing.”

Bench said the best method to watering your plants in hot weather is ‘low and slow’ and to water in the morning.

It’s been a year of extreme ups and downs, and Bench tells 13abc that it’s one to remember.

“We call these ‘marker years,’” she says, “Like the drought of ‘88, then we had the real wet year in ‘89. So, there are years that you mark because of the weather, or something else that happened. So, this will be a marker year.”

So, if you’re struggling with your own garden, just sit tight.

“This week will pass,” says Bench. “Remember this in December and January when you’re complaining about the cold. We humans are never happy, and here in Ohio, if you don’t like the weather, wait a few minutes and it will change.”

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