BERRY COLD: Specialty Growers Bundle Up

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It’s been some kind of spring in Nevada. Warm and dry enough to get a big head start at the Berry Patch.

“Well, we’ve had more time to work outside," says Judy Henry, who owns and operates the fruit farm with husband, Dean, and son, Mike, "doing some planting and getting the ground ready for new strawberries, new apple trees, and new blueberry plants.”

But this isn’t Henry’s first rodeo.  She knew what was likely still in store.

“You always know those warm spells don’t really last that long.”

So tonight, the strawberries, apples and blueberries—all in bloom-- get included in the bedtime prayers.

“It’s the length of cold that can get them. If it’s 30 minutes it’s less dangerous than if it’s 2:30.”

The center of the strawberry flower is the beginning of the berry itself and this one is dead and black (it got hit last night.) The difference between one like this and a flower that makes it is just a couple of degrees Fahrenheit.

“They will predict a 29 or a 28 and sometimes the ground temperature is much colder than that, so you put your thermometer on the ground and hope for the best,” Henry says.

Though their neighbors lost all their grapes, last night, the Henry's think they’ll be okay.  Blueberries are hardy, strawberries in bloom have been covered, and apples?

“These have to be thinned anyway, so you either have to think them out or if the frost takes some, it’s usually not a big deal.”

Experts have been reminding us all along that Central Iowa’s average last frost date is May 10th.  So call the cold snap inconvenient but don’t call it a surprise.