Cold temperatures threaten tender vegetation for local growers

If you think you're cold, imagine how the vegetables feel.

LINCOLN, Neb. (KLKN) – With recent snowfall and cold overnight temperatures in late April, local growers in Lancaster County have had to get creative on how to keep their vegetation alive and warm.

“The cold temperatures did have me concerned that we would lose some of those tender transplants that are just coming out of the greenhouse to the field,” Ian Richmond, from Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery said.

Onions, kale and lettuce are just some of the vegetation outside in the fields at Shadow Creek Farm, just southwest of Lincoln. Those veggies along with many others, don’t handle the frost, snow or below freezing temperatures well.

“A lot of the cold loving crops, but there’s a threshold to the amount of cold they can actually take,” Richmond said.

Shadow Brook Farm and Bright Hope Family Farm in Firth, had to bring in some extra material so those tender vegetables don’t freeze in our recent low temps.

“These hoop houses add a lot of protection to our crops and then, if it gets really cold, we add another layer of frost cloth,” Lainey Johnson, the owner of Bright Hope Family Farm said. “As you can see, the white in the middle there folds over to add another level of protection.”

It looks like blankets that cover the vegetation. Those row covers keep plants about six to eight degrees warmer than the outside air. It’s a key piece of fabric that growers use every year when planting early and late in the season because of the unpredictable Nebraska weather.

“It can be a bit of a dance when you’re trying to get some of the summer veggies out because you don’t want to be delayed on some of the plantings, but you just learn to go with it,” Johnson said.

Looking into the future, your local summer vegetables could come late if the cold temperatures and frost continue for the coming weeks.

“Our main concern would be if the frost was extended longer than expected,” Johnson said. “There would be quite a few delays on crops.”

If you’re looking for some fresh vegetables, this Sunday marks the first Farmers’ Market of the new year at College View. Both farms will be there, selling their products.

Categories: Lancaster, Nebraska News, News