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Cold delays Ohio vegetable plantings

Old Man Winter aged to be ancient this winter through much of North America. Ohio produce growers continued to feel the wrath going into mid-April.

On April 15, three large growers around Willard, OH, told very similar tales.

Ben Wiers, a family owner at Wiers Farm Inc., indicated, “We had three inches of snow last night. We have planted nothing. We need a few warm days to dry off the fields. It will be next week before the fields are ready to plant.”bell-peps-0073Bell peppers growing in an Ohio field. (Photo courtesy of Holthouse Farms)

Bruce Buurma, a family owner of Buurma Farms Inc., said, “Normally, the first planting would be in the ground.” Assuming the weather would become more typical, Buurma planned to soon start transplanting early vegetables from greenhouses into the ground.

Buurma and his neighbors expect a slight delay because of the late start. Buurma expects to be seven to 10 days later than normal.

On April 22 the 10-day forecast for Willard showed coming rain but no lows below freezing.

Wiers said if the weather and soil return to normal in the third week of April “we will only be a few days” off schedule.

Planting season for will be “a week or so late” but Wiers isn’t too concerned. “I look forward to the weather breaking but this is not a real bad situation. If this was two weeks from now, I’d be more worried.”

Kirk Holthouse, sales manager of Holthouse Farms of Ohio Inc., said, “We are like everyone else. We are looking at a later start.” Holthouse noted, “We are used to this” bad weather in April. Holthouse would plant its greenhouse transplants “when the ground is ready. We have got to get the ground temperatures up. If it’s warm in late April and May, we will make up ground quick” on the production schedule.

Buurma said one year April 1 planting was followed by a weather delay gap. The same crop was planted April 20. The second planting was ready for harvest before the first because the plants were so much stronger. Thus, “We’re not hitting any panic buttons yet.”