Chile crops benefit from rain in Mesilla

Chile crops benefit from rain in Mesilla

POSTED: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 5:15pm

UPDATED: Tuesday, July 10, 2012 - 8:27pm

 MESILLA, N.M. -- The recent rains have benefited chile farmers in the Mesilla Valley helping their crops grow without the need of irrigation water or well water.

Ristramnn Chile Company owner Chris Alexander said the rain couldn't have come at a better time with limited water from the Rio Grande available for irrigation.

"Our plants are so small that it's more of an enhancement than a detriment to us, so the rain with the shortage of water has been beneficial for us at this point," Alexander said.

Alexander and his family have been growing chile in the area for more than 8 generations and 20 years in Mesilla.

"We do it all on our own, raising the chile and making the ristras and retailing all the way from farming to the retail market," Alexander said.

He said chile takes about two or three months to grow and about three feet of water a season.

Alexander said the biggest money saver is not having to use his wells for irrigation.

However, too much rain can be a problem.

"Whenever things get out of control and you can't get out into the field and take care of them, then all of sudden you get overgrown with weeding," Alexander said.

Rain is helping Alexander keep from using his more expensive wells to irrigate his crop.

As long as the rain keeps coming in and not too hard, Alexander said he's expecting a good season.

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