PORTLAND, Ore. -- The cold rainy weather is delivering a tough blow to community gardens and the people who depend on them for food.
The gardens provide thousands of pounds of produce to local food pantries. But yields were down by a third in a wet 2010 and this year could be even worse.
Slugs are supposed to only come out at night. However, for several weeks now, they haven t been able to tell night from day.
I ll tell you what, you re going to have some serious slug issues this year, said Dan Franec who has a masters degree in horticulture. He moved to Portland from Portland, Maine two years ago to work with Portland s community garden program.
This kale is for the produce for people program which helps food banks in the area, said Franec.
He says cold temperatures and nearly constant rain has made it nearly impossible to grow health plantright now. His pea crop keeps rotting.
He s on his third planting this year. If things don t change, I m almost ready to move back to Maine, said a chuckling Franec.
Saturated soil has also led to 34 mud and rock slides along Oregon roadways so far this year.
Conditions are so unusually wet, state transportation workers are working extra hours and still wearing pagers.
Our maintenance crews are monitoring the roads and our geologists and geo-tech engineers have extended our winter season on-call program because of the saturated soil, said Tova Peltz an engineer with the Oregon Department of Transportation.
A little sun could change everything and that s what gardeners across the region are hoping for.
Many of them are still talking about the 5 hours of sun we enjoyed on Tuesday.
As soon as that sun came out, I swear a few of my surviving plants grew an inch, said Franec.
However, until that sun returns, the only thing truly growing in Portland gardens will be the number of slugs.