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Fairfield County Peaches Face Spring Freeze

EASTON Conn. – An anticipated spring freeze had an Easton farmer working through the night Monday, while other farmers and garden center owners advised residents to protect their gardens but not worry too much.

To protect his peach crop, Irv Silverman, owner of Silverman Farm in Easton, said he and his crew would be working through the night to protect the farm’s 30 acres of “early” peaches, which have reached full bloom and would be ready for picking this summer.

The apples grown on the farm were likely to survive the anticipated 22-degree weather, but those temperatures threatened to wipe out 90 percent of the farm's peach crop, Silverman said.

To fend off the cold, Silverman and his farm workers planned to fuel smoke barrels, or “smudge pots,” near the peaches to keep the blossoms from freezing. His biggest concern was getting through the coldest hours between 3 a.m. and sunrise.

“Tonight is the night we are worried about,” he said Monday afternoon. “The smudge pots will bring the chill out of there.”

Irv Snow, owner of Snow’s Farm on Sport Hill Road, which specializes in landscaping products for homeowners, said because it has been a “freaky year,” the farm has not planted anything yet. Snow suggested that people who have already planted could temporarily protect their gardens with hay, plastic covering or mulch.

“This cold is not going to last long and it will warm up by the end of the week,” he said.

Lee Ganim, owner of Ganim’s Garden Center and Florist in Fairfield, said with the early spring, various plants like magnolia trees have bloomed two weeks ahead of schedule.

“There is really nothing people can do about that,” he said.

Ganim said people who have started their vegetable growing season early (which he does not recommend) should water their plants and cover them with bed sheets or painter’s cloth, but avoid using plastic because it would freeze to the plant.

“The coverings will protect the plants from the wind, which actually causes the frost,“ he said.

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