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ST. LOUIS – A lack of rain and high heat has the irrigation lines working in overtime here at Thies Farm & Greenhouses. They’re trying to keep their raspberries and other crops healthy.

But it’s not just the lack of rain that’s a challenge.

“The biggest problem with the raspberry crop is that when we get this intense heat and sun they will burn; sunburn the raspberries,” said Dave Thies, owner of Thies Farm & Greenhouses. “There’s not a whole lot we can do besides trying to keep them hydrated and pick as much as we can ahead so they’re not sitting there and having a chance to burn.”

The red raspberry season is short. There’s probably a week left until they’re done for the year. Black raspberries are starting to ripen now so there will be another week to 10 days for those. Then it’s time for blackberries.

“We should have blackberries through the whole month of July. If we don’t keep them watered, they won’t size up to a nice, plump, juicy size. They’ll stay small and be a little dry,” said Thies.

In July are, of course, peaches. Thies says at this point they look amazing and aren’t being irrigated just yet. That will change if we don’t get rain in the next week. Otherwise the peaches won’t size up.

“They’ll stay small and even drop off a little bit. So, we are a little concerned with the drought right now. We kind of consider being in a drought at this point,” Thies said.

Thies hopes to begin pick your own peaches around July 10.

Homegrown vegetable season will be full blown in the next few weeks.

For your veggie garden at home, don’t wait to start watering.

“For the home garden, the main thing is to keep those plants watered sufficiently and ideally keep a pretty-uniform moisture level. You don’t want it to spike way up way down,” Thies said. “Because of our humidity that we have, fungus problems are a big problem in vegetables. The best way around that is if possible is to irrigate or water your plants from underneath. Keep the plant dry as possible and it really will help some of the issues with fungus.”