Rainy season good news for Vineland gardeners; farmers not so lu - NBC40.net

Rainy season good news for Vineland gardeners; farmers not so lucky

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VINELAND -

For an urban enterprise zone, Vineland has a decidedly rural landscape: Thousands of acres of farmland punctuated by farm stands, flower shops and nurseries. So it comes as no surprise to residents that the city was named the Garden State's top garden city.

"Well I think we had a lot of rain too that helped & my garden has been pretty decent. Geraniums are going off the chart," said one experienced gardener.

"Oh it's a lot of rain. I'm not sure if the rain's helped. I mean it's been kind of bothersome getting all the rain. But it's helped, especially with the fig trees," explained another.

But while this season's rain has helped the multitude of farmers that call Vineland home, it's done the opposite for farmers.

"It's been tough all year. Just fighting. Battling the weather, battling the rain," said Tom Pontano of Pontano & Sons Farm. A fight that has left farmers struggling with smaller crops and less volume. 

"You pick half of the stuff and you throw it down on the ground. It's just all rotten. You can't harvest it," said Pontano.

Farmers say the typical deadline for planting seeds for the fall harvest is around August 15th, and with the deadline behind them they're forced to make every minute count.

"Everybody's scrambling," said Pontano. "The ground is still wet, we're trying to find the ground that's dry and try to get what we can in. Like I said we're on 3rd base heading home and we haven't scored yet."

And as the days grow shorter, the plants have less time to grow, and if they don't it puts a city full of farmers in a difficult position.

'Break even maybe or you know just start over for next year. Hopefully if we have a good fall we can get back here at least make something."

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