H-CENTRAL COAST

Nov 24, 2010 9:27 PM by Danielle Lerner

Local growers prepare for overnight freeze

Growers by the coast say they expect the frigid temperatures this time of year, they plan for them, and while the cold weather will most likely have a small impact growers say it's nothing they cannot work through.

"If it gets below 32 degrees we have some concerns, and if it's going to be below 28 degrees we could have some serious damage," said Rollie Cavaletto, who has been farming in Nipomo for 40 years. He knows what a cold spell can mean for his lemons and avocados.

"If it's a severe freeze those trees won't bloom the next spring so then you lose two or three years crop," said Cavaletto.

Back in 2007 farmers across the state lost more than one billion dollars worth of crops to a bitter winter freeze, and while this week's temperatures are not expected to cause that much damage, Cavaletto's keeping his windmills in working order just in case.

"You blow that warmer air down into the trees close to the ground and that helps raise the temperature," said Cavaletto.

Vegetable growers in Oceano are also watching the weather closely.

"There's not a whole lot of things we can do to fend off mother nature when it comes to a deep freeze," said Dan Sutton, the general manager of Pismo Oceano Vegetable Exchange.

That is why winter preparations start months in advance. Growers plant heartier vegetables like cabbage and napa bok choy this time of year because they can withstand the harsher temperatures.

"We reduce a lot of our concerns just by not having a lot of those sensitive vegetables in the ground," said Sutton.

Still when it comes to mother nature local growers admit there is only so much they can do.

"There's things that we can control and weather is just one of the things that we can't," Sutton said.

That is the scenario for the coastal areas but the temperatures inland are expected to drop into the teens and that is going to make a pretty tough night for plants, animals and even people in those areas.

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