Freezing Temperatures Threaten the Cranberries and Vines.

Throughout the night, the cranberry marsh was watered in an effort to prevent low temperatures from damaging berries and vines.

I woke up at O’dark hundred after a restful sleep. Letting the dogs outside I noticed a decided crispness in the air and a cloudless night. The temperature had dropped to the low 20s in part because the lack of clouds allowed heat to escape into the atmosphere. Being late October, we had already suffered through several deep frosts and had lost all our annual plants so I had no real concerns for our garden.  My only concern was getting ready to spend a few hours on the marsh.

I loaded Lily (our white collie) and Amber (our leonberger) in car and set out. Driving before sunrise, I noticed periodic ground fog over the lower regions of the grasslands and marsh. Early mornings can be so beautiful in central Wisconsin. Shortly after arriving at Owen Rock Cranberries, Jim came out in his truck to greet me.  It had been a long night. While the rest of us were getting some zzz’s, Jim was awake making sure his berries and vines were protected.

The unharvested cranberry crop and remaining vines are still susceptible to freezing. Jim used the  irrigation system to apply a thin coat of water which quickly froze providing a bit of insulation against much colder air. Even though he can use his iPad to control the system, only personal presence can check to make sure the sprinklers are functioning as desired, the nozzles are not getting frozen and the cranberry bed is safe. Yup, Jim earned his keep last night. Growing berries is hard work.

A thin coating of ice insulates cranberries and vines from colder air temperatures.

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