Local Growers Challenged By Lasting Winter Weather
“This one was seeded about five weeks ago; seeds come up when they want to come up, but everything in here has frosted just a little bit,” said Louise Johnson, co-owner of Grampa G’s Farm.
Louise Johnson and husband Shayne are fourth-generation owners of Grampa G’s Farm in Pillager. Even while living in Central Minnesota, this spring is one of the latest they have ever seen.
“We’ve usually harvested once and been selling that at a co-op or some other place, but yeah, it’s a struggle this year,” said Shayne.
Right now, a variety of crops already a few weeks behind schedule.
“We’re running about five weeks late just on that one greenhouse alone,” Louise said.
Even in the greenhouses with a heated floor, the air temperature has been just too cold for the crops.
“We can’t take the risk and put the plant material out too quickly because of the cold mornings and cold evenings,” Shayne said.
Even though the air temperature can be a killer, a little spring snow can go a long way in actually helping the plants.
“The spring snows are always the really good snows that give you the ample moisture in the ground, and with freezing and thawing like this, it’s got a chance to not all run off; it just sits there and will start to soak in,” Louise said.
Even though behind, the Johnsons are optimistic their crops will be growing soon.
“If the air temperature is in the 50s consistently for a week or two, I think we can start to manage our risk a little bit and take the chance to get it in the ground,” Shayne said.
And hopefully, they’ll have greens near the end of May or early June.
“Plants are going to catch up, a lot of the plants that we plant are day length determinate, so they are going to go by the length of the daylight,” Louise said.
Even though waiting for spring can be stressful, these growers say they wouldn’t change a thing, except for the weather, of course…
“I need spring,” Louise said with a laugh.
They are happy to do their part in creating a healthy community.
“The biggest thing is that we are trying to feed a community that just doesn’t have a lot of vegetables,” Shayne said.
The community may have to wait just a few extra weeks to get their local produce this year, but growers are expecting a full turnaround.