LAWRENCE - Crops in Douglas County have been suffering. The region is experiencing a drought and is down about three inches in rainfall for the month. Last night, Lawrence got just over an inch and after roughly 10 days of no rain. It provided some relief.
“I had kind of given up on it and was very relieved when I woke up this morning, we had a little more than an inch,” says Dan Phelps, the Garden Coordinator at the Growing Food Garden Program at West Junior High.
Phelps knows all too well that gardening in Kansas is unpredictable, so today they are taking advantage of last night’s rain by watering the crops to get a good soak. “It's kind of the difference between being in a swimming pool and being wrapped in a wet towel,” he says.
For student grower Breven Sievers, it’s a good lesson in the reality of the trade. “I'd always think it was pretty bad when it rained because I couldn't go outside but usually when it rains here it's really good for weeding,” says Sievers.
Across town at the Pendleton Farm, things are also a little better. The Pendleton’s got nearly two inches of rain. They had stopped planting because the soil was too dry but today the family has resumed their work and the annual ‘Pick Your Own Potatoes’ function is back on for the weekend.
Experts say an inch of rain per week is ideal for farmers but experienced growers know that in Kansas you deal with what you get. “It's either too wet or too dry, too hot or too cold," says Phelps. "There's always something you can complain about so you just go with it and make the best of it."