Quantcast


One apple orchard damaged, but otherwise farmers were able to cover and protect crops.

Last updated: May 15. 2013 12:46AM - 1888 Views
By ANDREW M. SEDER
aseder@timesleader.com



Larry O'Malia has tender vegetable plants and flowers still in the greenhouse and Monday night brought three trailers of his tomatoes into the garage due to the low temperatures that brought widespread frost to the region. 
(AIMEE DILGER PHOTO / THE TIMES LEADER)
Larry O'Malia has tender vegetable plants and flowers still in the greenhouse and Monday night brought three trailers of his tomatoes into the garage due to the low temperatures that brought widespread frost to the region. (AIMEE DILGER PHOTO / THE TIMES LEADER)
Story Tools:

Font Size:

Social Media:
With the advanced frost warning by forecasters, area farmers were able to cover up and protect delicate crops and save them from the rare mid-May freeze Tuesday morning.

But at least one orchard sustained damage.

At the Broyan Farm in Nescopeck Township, the mercury plummeted below the freezing mark, down to 30 degrees. Jennifer Broyan said two rows of string beans were covered with plastic but the rest of the crops — cauliflower, onions, broccoli, cabbage and peas — are more hearty and can survive as long as the mercury stays above 25.

Her farm, which she runs with husband Francis, knows all too well the power of Mother Nature. In August 2011, a 30-minute hail storm wiped out most of the farm's crops, including watermelon, squash, cantaloupe, zucchini and peppers.

But the Tuesday morning frost did not cause that kind of destruction.

“At this point I don't think we had any damage,” Broyan said on Tuesday.

Other farms throughout the region came away unscathed and will benefit from a warming trend. Nighttime lows will be in the low 50s and daytime highs in the low 70s for the next several days, according to weather.com.

Farms weathered the chill because last week's warmth allowed many fruit trees to blossom, making them less susceptible to damage, John Esslinger, a Penn State Cooperative Extension Service educator for Northeast Pennsylvania, said.

Timing important

If the frost had occurred a week ago, Esslinger said, the damage could have been extensive.

“Then we'd have a different story to tell,” he said. He said some apples might have frost scarring, but they'll be able to be used for cider, still. Other crops also could have sustained damage from the cold had they not been covered, like the beans at the Broyan farm.

He said some crops such as tomatoes, asparagus and peppers, if left exposed to the cold, could have been ruined. But thanks to advanced weather forecasting, the farmers had time to take precautions and cover susceptible crops and save them. The covering, Esslinger said, gives the crops protection of an extra four or five degrees.

“It was not a surprise to anyone,” Esslinger said of the freeze.

Harold Golomb Jr., of Golomb Farm and Greenhouse in Plains Township, said none of his crops was damaged. Thanks to the early warning of the freeze, he held off on planting “anything tender” such as cucumbers, zucchini or peppers.

Larry O'Malia, owner of his namesake greenhouse and farm in Plains Township, said he has a rule of thumb not to plant tomatoes until after May 15. The May 14 frost proved his rule to be wise.

The three cartloads of tomato plants he is set to put in the ground were wheeled into a garage Monday night and survived the frost. So too did all of his other crops, including corn, beans, cabbage, broccoli and potatoes.

Apple blossoms at Brace's Orchard in Franklin Township were not as lucky as the beans, corn and other crops grown at area farms. Owner Paul Brace spent much of Tuesday in the orchard evaluating his trees and assessing the damage.

Comments
All user comments are subject to our Terms of Service. Users may flag inappropriate comments.
comments powered by Disqus



Featured Businesses


Poll



Info Minute



Gas Prices

Wilkes-Barre Gas Prices provided by GasBuddy.com