Things got a little frosty for home gardeners during the recent weekend chill and Sampson County Cooperative Extension agents would like local growers to be prepared for the future.
Brad Hardison, horticulture agent, recently reported that potatoes, garden peas, cabbage, and corn were effected by the frost when temperatures dropped to the 30s and 40s in different areas across Sampson County overnight.
“The last frost date for Sampson County is usually April 1,” Hardison said. “But there’s 12 days afterwards that a frost could come. It’s a little bit of a late frost, but it’s nothing that’s unusual.”
Many major blueberry and strawberry growers used frost protection to deter damage. Peach growers took the same precautions as well.
The local Cooperative Extension office received a few calls about fruit tree protection. Hardison contacted Dr. Michael L. Parker, associate professor and extension horticulture specialist (tree fruits and pecans). The recommendation was to use tobacco burlap sacks or drop cloths with a 100 watt light bulb underneath for warmth.
Although the forecast for the rest of April calls for temperatures in the 70s, Hardison stressed that growers should still take precautions.
“We’re still not out of the woods yet,” Hardison said. “With the way this weather has been, you can never tell. “I’ve seen some forecast where there could be some more cold weather.”
When it comes to planting a home garden in early spring, Hardison advised not to “jump the gun” on a 70-degree day in March.
“It’s better just to wait after the last frost date, which is April 12, to put your garden in,” Hardison said. “If you got peaches or blueberries already at home, just cover them when a frost or freeze warning is out.”
For more information, contact the Sampson County Extension Center at 910-592-7161 or by email at sampson.ces.ncsu.edu
Reach Chase Jordan at 910-249-4617. Follow us on Twitter at @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.