Local farmers welcome cold temperatures for crops
While many don't like the cold, local farmers are psyched the cold air has finally arrived after three years.
As of 5:45 pm this evening, we are going on hour 49 with the air temperature of 32 degrees or colder here in Chattanooga. While many don't like the cold, local farmers are psyched the cold air has finally arrived after three years.
Executive Director of Crabtree Farms, Sara McIntyre says, "Anything that's not well sheltered this winter, their populations are getting knocked back, so only the strongest will survive rather than everything surviving."
The cold crops are producing more sugar as a way of protecting the plant. The crops, however, are frozen, but they are taking measures to ensure less damage.
"There's going to be a significant amount of frost damage," McIntyre adds. "What we're doing right now is saving the main body."
A white tarp called a reemay is laid over the crop to try to trap the ground's heat. They can't touch or harvest the crops this week, but the sunshine is helping the ground temperature.
"Whenever light comes in, it's bouncing around inside, kind of like that greenhouse effect,"' McIntyre says.
In fact, three greenhouses are on the property at Crabtree Farms and one that, in particular, needs to be kept at 40 degrees minimum.
Two heaters on the ground, one propane tank and two fans on the walls are helping keep the greenhouse consistently above 40 degrees.
The greenhouse manager at Crabtree says, "the circulation fan will kind of pull the heat up and through that zone to keep a little heat blanket over them."
As the heat rises, the fans direct the heat downward to try and trap the heat over the plants. Barron says he does not anticipate damage in this greenhouse.
The microgreens such as arugula and beets are still being harvested for restaurants this week. Crabtree tells Channel 3 they are holding off on harvesting carrots, lettuce and kale until the temperature at least rises to the upper 30s to near 40, likely by this weekend.
Have a weather related story idea? Feel free to email Meteorologist Brittany Beggs.