Chile harvest survives deluge

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If you haven’t bought your chile yet, you don’t have to worry. Local chile is still in good supply.
Close to 6 inches of rain fell last week at Chris and Paul Sichler’s Snake Ranch farm in San Antonio, but their chile crop seems to have survived the heavy rainfall. But only time will tell how much damage his chile plants sustained, Chris said.

“We had good drainage,” he said. “We’ve seen some damage. Sometimes it’ll snap out of it, but we’ll have to wait till the end of the week. Most of it looks all right. The water all drained into the drainage ditch.”

The Sichlers have installed a drip system, which will help prevent diseases caused by waterlogging.

“If I flood, there’s already disease in the root zone, Phytophthora, that taps the root system of the plant when it’s too wet like that,” he said. “With the new drip system, when I water again, I don’t have to flood, I’ll just give it the little shot of water it needs instead of flooding.”

Sichler chile should be in good supply this fall despite the recent downpours.

“The chile harvest has been OK,” he said. “We had a good crop, a lot of chile. It’s late enough in the year, so I think we’ll have plenty for our stand.”

The Rosales’ produce stand in Escondida was closed for a while because of flooded fields, but is open now that the fields are drying out.

“We’ve had 5 inches at my house south of Lemitar,” said owner Linda Rosales.

“We couldn’t get in (to the fields) and pick for two days,” she said, “but that was it. We’re back in again. There might be some melons that might have been damaged and some squash, but that’s normal. I have plenty of chile in the field. We hope to have plenty to sell until the end of October.”