CORYDON, Ind. — While most of us have been able to enjoy incredibly mild weather recently, it has allowed crops to begin growing ahead of schedule.
This can present big problems for our farmers.
When there are hard freezes after budding has already started, it can harm or even kill the plant for the entire season.
Louisville’s last hard freeze usually occurs March 20, with our last 32 degree freeze on the March 31.
With overnight lows in the upper 20s expected both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, plants across Kentuckiana will be threatened.
Young grapes are especially susceptible to the freezing temperatures.
Local vineyard owner, Jim Pfeffer, said he anticipates some damage to grapes that have already begun budding.
"In 2022, we harvested 35,000-pounds of grapes. The year before, just 2,000-pounds. It makes a big difference when you do get a frost versus when you do not," he said.
In years past, when temperatures dip that low, Pfeffer would do his best to keep the vines from freezing.
"We built 17 bonfires in the vineyard, trying to keep the frost away. You could have seen us from the space station."
For the best chance of not harming your crop, the rule of thumb -- for green thumbs, is to wait until the Derby to get digging into the dirt.
"My advice is that if you plant a week early, is it really going to affect the flavors of what you're trying to produce? Probably not. I would wait until you're not going to freeze. It is so vitally important."
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