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» April 8, 2009 «
Nursery operators report a major increase in sales of vegetable garden plants as well as vegetable seeds. With both the first ladies in Washington D.C. and Sacramento encouraging people to plant gardens, the demand for materials has jumped. Nursery operators expect demand for tomato plants to remain strong until mid-May when time for the plants to develop fruit runs short. Demand for seed has also increased, however there is enough supply to satisfy the higher demand.
Easter lilies are available now at Easter time because of the hard work of farmers in Northern California and Southern Oregon where almost all North American lilies are grown. The lily naturally blooms in summer. To provide lilies at Easter, farmers harvest bulbs in June and July and ship them to nurseries where the bulbs are artificially winter chilled and then subjected to warm springlike temperatures so they are ready to bloom at Easter instead of in summer. The result is plentiful supplies of Easter lilies now.
Olive growers could anticipate a heavy crop this year, after an off season last year. Signs are there in orchards for a good crop with new wood on the trees, and what is needed is water, pruning and fertilizer. The big question is whether there will be enough water. The trees can tolerate minimum water requirements, but will not produce olives of marketable size. Farmers will have trouble obtaining production loans without guaranteed adequate water supplies.
Rice farmers are busy working their ground as they prepare to plant this year's crop. Usually farmers try to start planting about the middle of April and complete that work by May 29. The California Rice Commission isn't certain how much rice acreage will be planted this year. Lack of water may cause some reduction, but rice prices farmers earn have been strong providing an economic incentive to plant. Heavy rain could slow the field preparation work for a few days.Top