Warm, dry winter a concern for farmers

Early buds and frost at night could result in lack of fruit

  • Mar. 11, 2015 5:00 a.m.

Erin Haluschak

Record Staff

While the early spring weather has many Comox Valley residents itching for T-shirts and patios, some farmers in the region are concerned for what the above-normal temperatures will do to their livelihood.

Arzeena Hamir of Amara Farm in Courtenay said while many of her vegetables are about three weeks ahead of schedule, the warm weather brings with it some apprehension.

“We’ve been really busy; we haven’t been able to sit down much since January, which has been nice and we are using the sunshine to heat the greenhouse. We’ve been going to the farmers’ market with greens for about a month now, which is very unusual,” she explained. “But it could be a bad year for certain types of aphids. We rely on the cold winter to control the pests, so we’re monitoring the situation — it is a bit of a worry.”

The warm weather is advancing buds on blueberries as well, with some breaching early and receiving frost at night, a combination which could result in many not bearing fruit, Hamir added.

Along with the warmer weather is the low snowpack on Mount Washington, which Hamir noted is a worry for later this summer.

“Our wells are charged by the runoff from (the mountain), and it is a concern. We try to be very conservative with our water — we use drip irrigation — so it’s a good time for the community as a whole to think about water conservation.”

Environment Canada meteorologist Lisa Coldwells noted there is a good reason Valley residents are feeling the heat —February was the warmest month on record since temperatures have been recorded at the weather station at the Comox Airport.

“The mean temperature for the month recorded since 1953 was 4.3C, and in February it was 7.4 C. It’s quite a record number,” she explained.

The second warmest February recorded was 6.8 C in 1958. While there was only one record-breaking day — Feb. 21 at 13.5 C — Coldwells said all other days in the month were warm which helped keep the average high.

“Overall, it’s been a very warm month due to an existing persistent upper ridge sitting over B.C.,” she explained. “While the ridge itself doesn’t make weather, it protects the region and acts like an umbrella while pushing everything northward.”

Looking ahead, Coldwells explained there are very strong indicators the upper ridge will persist, and the area can expect above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation levels.

“These are not normal temperatures in the wintertime; generally this ridge sits over the area in the summer,” she added.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

 

Just Posted

Additional funds allocated to over-budget Cumberland fire hall design

Council approved the addition of $125,000 for pre-construction work

Local musicians inducted into Comox Valley Walk of Achievement

Seven local musicians have earned their spot among some of the Comox… Continue reading

North Island Hospital Comox Valley looking for funds to open fourth operating room

One of the priorities of the Comox Valley Hospital is to significantly… Continue reading

Increased accessibility an uphill battle for former Courtenay resident

Brian George wheeled himself up Ryan Road as part of his Halifax Oddesy Tour

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

Column: Mother orca’s display of grief sends powerful message

The grief of this orca mother may not be visible anymore, but we must not forget.

Seven people with ties to Red Scorpions gang arrested in B.C. drug bust

Delta police have secured 94 charges against seven people, including drug and firearm offences

Second measles scare this summer at YVR

An infected traveller flew out of Vancouver’s airport three times

Judge OKs Weinstein suit, cites casting couch’s history

Actress Kadian Noble can sue disgraced Hollywood mogul for violating sex trafficking laws

Employers to raise salaries 2.6% on average next year: report

Firm points to factors such possibility of more trade protectionism, rising interest rates

B.C. school’s pledge to ban sex outside of heterosexual marriage now optional

Community convenant of Langley’s Trinity Western University has been centre of rights debate

Better Business Bureau open for Torch Award nominations

Deadline to nominate an amazing business or employee is Aug. 31

PM Trudeau and federal ministers to meet on Vancouver Island

Cabinet retreat will be held in Nanaimo from Aug. 21-23

Most Read