Thursday, April 30, 2009

In the Field: Frost Damages

If you are a home gardener you have the luxury of waiting to plant until you are certain that all chances of frost have past. No one is relying on you, but your own family and their needs for a fresh harvest. As a market grower, you attempt all possible techniques in order to bring the earliest strawberries, tomatoes, lettuces, asparagus, and whatever is possible in the spring time.

Sonoma County temperatures are low this week and many places report frost. Tierra Vegetables has been impacted throughout the field with fresh tomato transplants being frosted to death and frozen fruiting berries that will be lost this season. Even some asparagus tips show that transluscent burn of frost damage. Wayne was attempting to estimate the loss to the strawberry crop due to the recent cold nights this week and it seems the majority of fruit blossoms on each plant that was in the process of fruiting has been hit. The damages are inconsistent and some perfectly good blossoms and fruit remain, but damage has been done and unfortunately this will mean a few less strawberries to enjoy early in the season for us all.

The brown center here indicates frost damage.

Note the green/yellow center here that is still a good strawberry fruit and has not been damaged.

A frosted brown blossom hangs over one of the first of the ripe strawberries this season. There will be more, but not as many now that the night time temperatures have robbed us of some of our spring berries.

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