Courtesy of Eat Here St. Louis’s Andy Ayers, here is something that everyone should read so we can appreciate what our farmers go through at this time of year. Since he didn’t have the farmer’s permission to quote her, he asked that it be kept anonymous, but I think we can pretty much consider it a quote from every farmer.
Everybody talks about the weather. But if you think nobody does anything about it, you don’t know enough farmers. One of my favorite growers opened up on me in an email when, trying to be upbeat, I said at least it looks like a freeze Monday would just be a one night event. Here’s what she said:
“These one night temps can be tricky though. It depends on how warm the soil gets the day before, if it is a light frost or hard freeze, and how much can the plant take. Broccoli & cauliflower can survive down to 27, however, below that is a different story. When the news calls for 27, that is the city around the airport. Out here we are anywhere from 5-10 colder. Usually we run about 7 degrees colder. So we are looking at 20 tonight, which is a HARD FREEZE! And if it is cloudy and cool all day, the soil temps will be low too.
“I hope the sun comes out today (Monday) and warms the soil up. We have broccoli & cauliflower that will not have row covers. We are focused on the warm season stuff—tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, squash. The potatoes got hurt last year three times. It set them back by freezing off the foliage, but we still got potatoes, it just took longer than we had anticipated.
“Anyway, we are praying and row covering everything we can. If we have extra row covers after the warm season crops are covered, we will begin working on covering the broccoli, cauliflower & beets. Maybe strawberries too—I have lost half my crop to this old man winter!”
So if you can’t get out there and help with the row covering the least you can do is stay in town tonight and help with the praying!