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'Not the end of the world yet': Northeast Ohio farmers concerned, but not panicked amid dry spell

It's been nearly two weeks since many areas have seen rain, and some people are feeling it.

WELLINGTON, Ohio — Northeast Ohio farmers and gardeners were concerned but not panicked Friday coming out of a less than impressive rainfall total in May, including nearly two weeks of no rain at all.

In Ben Franklin Community Garden's 40-plus-year lifespan in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood, Tom Sargent has been there for 30 years of it.

"I can't remember having seen this dirt this dry," Sargent said. "I can't remember having this time of the year gone this long without falling rain."

Since community members started planting last week, there hasn't been any rain. But with easy access to water, that hasn't stopped them from planting everything from tomatoes to peppers to squash and watermelon.

"Everything is very dusty," Shannon Dishong told 3News. "It's kind of hard to plant just because you put a shovel in and it just goes everywhere.

"I think it's just more time consuming too just trying to make sure your plants are watered and everything like that."

It’s a different story to the west in Lorain County, where Robert Beekman and his family take care of more than 4,000 acres without irrigation.

"We rely on good old mother nature to water them," Beekman said.

The lack of rain hasn't necessarily been a bad thing for their 500 acres of hay fields, where they have made significant progress in recent days. But all Beekman has to do is look at the bean field next door to see the impact the weather is having on other crops.

"We haven't seen any emergence yet because it's  been so dry right at the moment until we get a rain," he explained.

Beekman says if it doesn't come soon enough, they could soon find themselves replanting crops.

"At the moment, it's a concern but it's not the end of the world yet," he added. "We're used to having plenty of water, more or less. There are years we have too much in the area. We just hope the rain comes at the right time. That's all you can hope for."

Until then, Sargent says at the garden, they'll get by fine, watering their fruits and vegetables with the nearby hoses.

"We're hoping, obviously, hoping against hope for rain in the next few days," he said. "We need it.; the plants need it."


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