Extreme measures to protect food supply

Published: May. 1, 2013 at 10:56 PM CDT|Updated: May. 2, 2013 at 1:08 PM CDT
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The upcoming freezes have area farmers taking extreme measures to protect crops in the panhandle. Dozens of area farmers are fearing they'll lose fruits and vegetables because of the freezes.

Ronnie Kimbrell is a farmer and the President of Golden Spread Farmers Market. He says they're placing covers on plants today to keep them growing. Kimbrell says, "It's delayed planting for a lot of crops, and then those that have already been planted. Many are likely to freeze unless they're covered in some way. And it's difficult to cover large areas."

Watermelon, squash, zucchini, peppers, and tomatoes can all be easily damaged during a light frost. Kimbrell says this is the first time in years they've had to cover up plants, and it's worse now because of the strong winds.

This farmer says, "The wind really makes that difficult. We really need to cover the edges well so that the cold wind doesn't blow under it. So I would expect that we will still lose a portion of what's covered because of the conditions."

Kimbrell says they're placing polyester covers on watermelon plants, and plastic mulches on squash and zucchini. The mulches help keep weeds out and conserve moisture in the soil which allows the crop to grow.

He says, "The freezes that we've had, prior to this upcoming freeze have kept soil temperatures down. And that causes the seeds to take a little longer to germinate. And the end result of that is, it just takes longer for us to get ripe fruits and vegetables."

The Golden Spread Farmers Market is scheduled to open at the beginning of July as usual, but they expect less produce available in the first few weeks. The group is having their annual meeting this Saturday to see how much produce will be available for the market.

To check for updates and availability, you can visit their website: or their Facebook page by searching Golden Spread Farmers Market.

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.