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Daily Newspaper and Travel Guide
for Pecos Country of West Texas

Living off the Land

May 25, 1999

Irrigation over, onion harvest set to begin

Staff Writer
Water -- lots of it -- is the secret to growing onions. And in Reeves and Pecos Counties, that means irrigation water.

Randy Taylor uses some drip irrigation, but most onion fields are watered by the old-fashioned furrow method. And on 1,400 acres, that means long days in the field from September through May.

With harvest beginning late this week, Taylor stopped the pumps last week to give the fields time to dry out so harvesters can get in. Onions will be uprooted and left on the ground until cutters some along and snip off the tops.

Bagged in large sacks, the onions are picked up by trucks and hauled into Pecos to one of the two sheds operated by Pecos Cantaloupe Company. One is on Bickley Avenue (Texas Highway 17) and the other is north of the railroad tracks on Hickory Street.

During the long, hot summer, about 500 laborers will be employed in the sheds, which will begin operations May 31.

Taylor said that about 300 laborers will work the fields, and 30 contract truckers will haul the onions to the sheds.

"If those trucks aren't busy, we are in big trouble," Taylor said.

The crop "looks real good," Taylor said.

September plantings will come off first, and they will be the sweetest onions, Taylor said.

"The hotter the temperature gets, the hotter the onion becomes," he said.

Three types of onions were planted: short day, intermediate, and long day.

Later crops were planted in October and January. Then in February, sets were transplanted to the fields.

With no rain or bugs to hamper the crop, Taylor said it has been a pretty good year. And he hopes the market will hold so the crop will earn a pretty good profit.

"We sell them as they come off," he said. "The market changes, basically, every day."

Once they are sold, the onions are shipped from the sheds in trucks to all parts of the country.

That is, all those not purchased by Anchor West for onion rings. Anchor uses much of the crop during the 90-day harvest season and stores some for later processing.

Talking Herbs

By Sue Toone
Reeves County Fall Fair and Festival will be held on Friday, October 1 and Saturday, October 2, 1999. What an exciting event this will be. The Fair committee has added numerous competition opportunities for everyone. The Herb Show is one of the new Horticulture additions. So read on and find out just what division and classes are available from which to choose for your exhibit. Or, if you do not wish to compete, bring your herbs for display.

The Reeves County Fair and Festival rules and regulations must be followed. And there are some specific rules for the Herb Show such as:
All specimens must have been in the exhibitor's possession for at least three months or propagated by the exhibitor. Each entry must have a 3-by-5 index card that includes species, variety and/or common name with exhibitor's name on back and one entry per class. Youth and adult entries are welcome.

Six (6) stems in a clear glass container except where bunches are specified. Wilted flowers will be removed. Stems can be any length but should not be longer than 18 inches.
Class 01 Basil, Sweet Purple
Class 02 Catnip
Class 03 Chives - onion (no roots) bunch 1" diameter
Class 04 Chives - garlic (no roots) bunch 1" diameter
Class 05 Cilantro bunch 1: diameter
Class 06 Lamb's Ear
Class 07 Mints - all varieties
Class 09 Rosemary
Class 10 Yarrow

A collection is a stated specific kind and stated number of herbs.
Class 01 Collection of 8 dried tea herbs
Class 02 Collection of 3 cat herbs
Class 03 Fresh Herb Wreath
Class 04 Dried Herb Wreath
Class 05 Herb Vinegar
Class 06 Arrangement of Fresh or Dried Herbs
Class 07 A Potted Kitchen Herb Garden (three (3) or more varieties

The Fall Fair and Festival committee hopes that there will be a goodly number of you to dust off your plant containers and plant herbs to enter or display in the first Herb Show of the Fair. The judge will be a horticulture specialist with the Texas Agricultural Extension Service.

Of course the Fall Fair and Festival will have to approve the rules and regulations at the June meeting, but this rough draft can be a guide for you to start planning your strategy. That's just about all the herb talk for May, but I am including some more Fall Fair and Festival information about the Textiles Show.

The Textiles Show has sixteen classes: Painted Fabric, Crochet, Needlepoint, Hooking, Knitting, Embroidery, Crewel, Macram‚, Lace, Tatting, Sequin Art, Clothing, Special Occasion Decorations, Plastic Canvas, and Misc. There will be a division for the Youth (19 and below) and division for the adults (20 and over) Ribbons to be awarded for first, second, and third place in each class and all winners eligible for Best Of Show. Judge will be a Texas Agriculture Extension Specialist.

All this planning is continuing and hopefully everyone will take part in our County Fair and Festival.

Another new happening in Reeves County is that a Quilt Guild is being formed. We will meet again on Thurs., June 3, 7:00 p.m. at the Extension office. This guild welcomes anyone who loves quilts. We plan to have at least 40 quilts at the Fall Fair and Festival, so your help is needed.

Remember to get your seeds in the ground for your fall garden to enter in the Fair. All kinds of tomatoes, Bell peppers, jalapeno, Broccoli, cabbage, carrots, okra, turnips, MONSTER pumpkin or watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins, field pumpkins, miniature pumpkins, Acorn, crook neck, scallop, and Zucchini squash, gourds, oddity in nature vegetable, and senior citizen, (65 or older) basket of vegetables. There is also a "dressed vegetable" category so you can create your own character using plant material such as peppers, pumpkin (no jack-o-lantern), squash, tomatoes, etc.

You also have the opportunity to create a Garden Scarecrow. One entry per person. The scarecrow must be attached to a six foot (6') pointed two by four (2-by-4). You must get your entry in to the Extension office by Sept. 15 so the five-gallon bucket of sand will be available for display.

That's all for now. I still have the cut PVC pipe around my tomatoes and chiles because the wind is still blowing.

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Pecos Enterprise
York M. "Smokey" Briggs, Publisher
Division of Buckner News Alliance, Inc.

324 S. Cedar St., Pecos, TX 79772
Phone 915-445-5475, FAX 915-445-4321

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Copyright 1999 by Pecos Enterprise