Only a couple of days after torrential rainsdrenched the area, Bedner Farms got busy in early November preparing pepper fields for planting on the west side of Delray Beach, Fla.
“Our soils can handle rain and we have good drainage. It’s time to roll, so we’re rolling,” says Steve Bedner, who farms with brothers Bruce and Charlie, along with a nephew, Jesse.
“We had a total of 7 inches of rain in that storm. We missed getting 13 inches by four miles, so that one came pretty close. This may be the only place in the world where you can get that much rain and still farm the next day,” Bedner says.
The Bedners’ machines bedded up 40-inch rows, applied fertilizer, and rolled plastic atop the rows. Pepper planting quickly followed.
“The plastic keeps fertilizer in place and keeps beds from eroding. It also helps us deal with disease issues.”
Above-normal rainfall in October plagued farmers throughout south Florida, causing flash flooding in some areas and throwing crops behind schedule. As the month ended, remnants of Hurricane Rina met a cold front in the area, dumping large amounts of rain.
The western part of Boca Raton, not far from the Bedner family’s fields, recorded 15.79 inches in four days during the storm, says the National Weather Service. Some areas in Palm Beach, Broward and Collier counties got 5 inches to 7 inches of rain in about six hours.