Farmers prepare for possible freeze overnight

Danny Page spent the day checking the irrigation system to make sure it's ready to go for the morning.
April 16, 2014 3:58:18 AM PDT
Many farmers in central North Carolina are doing all they can to protect crops from the cold temperatures.

At Page Farms in Raleigh, Danny Page spent the day checking the irrigation system to make sure it's ready to go for Wednesday morning.

Usually the sound of rain is music to a farmer's ears, but not Page.

"We just don't like the rain," said Page, who is a strawberry farmer.

Page said they like to control the amount of water on the crop, and all this rain is drowning out that control.

"If you have red strawberries, when it starts raining a whole lot, it'll damage them," said Page.

Page said strawberries sitting in water can actually go bad in as little as two hours, and that's not his only problem. Temperatures are dropping into the night, and a freeze warning is in effect.

Frost is deadly to Page's three acres of blossoming strawberries. So the plan of action is to wake up at 3 a.m., and start putting more water on his strawberries. It sounds counter-productive due to all our recent rain, but it's crucial.

"When you're building the ice on them that causes friction, that causes heat," said Page. "This bloom, that's an open bloom, that's what we're talking about putting water around it to freeze and that will protect that bloom."

If conditions are windy, Page said the frost won't form, and he won't have to ice his crops. However, he will have to wait and see what morning brings.

Just two weeks until Page plans to open the farm to the public for berry picking, he hopes this is the last of soggy, cold weather.  

"I'll just be glad when this weather is over with," said Page. "It's like it keeps coming!"

Page wants to have the crop ready to go even before those two weeks because he has schools scheduled for field trips, and they will need berries to pick.


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