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Local farmers hope frosty nights delayed

Community

ALMA – Food producers have not stopped paying for this year’s cold-wet spring. Now they hope their crops escape fall frost for as long as possible.

Ron Christensen, who with his wife Irene operates Christensen Vegetable Farms Inc. in Alma, said his russet potato yield will be satisfactory, but not his red potatoes.

“The reds are not the crop I would have liked,” he said. “The russets turned out the best. It’s not been a great year with the cold June and the summer was so hot and dry. It’s affected a few crops.”

He said he “basically lost” the cucumber crop, while some crops are ripening later than usual due to the cold spring.

“Our beans have turned out good,” he said. “The first corn was not good, but the later corn came off good. We’re hoping for no frost for a while.”

The series of killer frosts in early June wiped out some crops throughout Pictou County, including cranberries in East Pictou.

Some domestic gardening was delayed or crops killed by frost had to be replanted.

Lack of pollination or nipped buds on some plants mean there will be no fruit on some apple trees.

“Blackberries seem okay – they were prolific this year,” said Trudy Rhynold, who operates Piedmont Valley Farms. “We have three apple trees and only one of them will have apples.”

Meanwhile, Susan Langille at Lakenman Farms in Bay View said it has been a good year, despite the late spring.

She said irrigation allows workers there to spray crops before sunrise when frost coats them. Irrigation also prevented frost kill last spring, she said.

“We’ve had a really good growing season, only because of irrigation,” she said. “I was worried about our blueberries and apples, but even they’re doing well. It’s been a tough year for a lot of farmers but I also think living near water instead of Scotsburn or other places inland helps.”