Food & Farm News
2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009
2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005
» January 4, 2006 «
Farmers monitoring flooded vineyards and orchards say damage from the New Year's weekend storms appears relatively minor thus far. Surging water flooded vineyards and orchards in many parts of Northern California. But those vines and trees are in their dormant stage, which leaves them less vulnerable to damage. As waters recede, farmers will have to remove silt from flooded land. Strong winds also toppled a few almond trees.
The rain and mild temperatures accompanying recent storms will help California pastures. A government crop report calls the rains "very beneficial" to foothill pastures in the south-central part of the state, which had been suffering from below-normal rainfall. The rains did flood some pastures and caused problems for animals in low-lying areas. The crop report said the rains would also be "highly favorable" for small-grain crops, in fields that avoided flooding.
Plant explorers have returned from an expedition to Chile with seeds from rare, wild tomatoes that grow there. Tomato researchers spent two weeks combing through rugged coastland and locations in the Andes Mountains, in search of wild relatives to domestic tomatoes. The seeds they found have been saved at a University of California seed bank in Davis. Genes from the wild plants may yield improvements in the nutritional value or disease resistance of domestic tomatoes.
An experimental orchard in Colusa County has expanded the possible location of walnut orchards in Northern California. The 20-year-old experiment demonstrated that walnuts could be grown successfully in shallow soils. University of California farm advisors planted their test walnut trees in densely planted hedgerows. The method proved successful, allowing farmers to plant additional walnut orchards in the western Sacramento Valley.Top