What is in this article?:
- Georgia's cold weather crops showing promise
- Vidalia onion crop
• Peach trees need chill hours, or hours below 45 degrees Fahrenheit, to stay dormant during the winter months. This helps them bloom properly in the spring and produce fruit in the summer.
• Another famously sweet Georgia crop, the Vidalia onion, is now planted and growing in fields in southeast Georgia, the state’s official onion region.
• Vegetable crops planted now like cabbage, collard greens and turnip greens tolerate cold weather.
Vidalia onion crop
Another famously sweet Georgia crop, the Vidalia onion, is now planted and growing in fields in southeast Georgia, the state’s official onion region. Even with temperatures dipping into the low teens like they did earlier this week, the onions are fine, said Reid Torrance, a UGA Extension agent in Tattnall County and an onion expert.
“The only onions susceptible to injury at this stage are the earlier-planted varieties planted in November. They are getting big enough to have some damage, but mostly from being sandblasted from the high winds we received in the area,” Torrance said.
He estimated that 25 percent of the total 13,000 or so acres of onions was planted in November. Even if they are damaged now, they will rebound when moderate weather returns to the region.
Onions are winter-hardy, but cold weather can hurt them when ground temperatures shoot below freezing and reach the developing bulbs underground. This is rare but has happened in the past, Torrance said.
Vegetable crops planted now like cabbage, collard greens and turnip greens tolerate cold weather, said Glenn Beard, UGA Extension agent in Colquitt County in south Georgia. This time of year, Colquitt farmers have roughly 3,500 acres of cabbage and 2,000 acres of greens planted.
“We are on the tail-end of cabbage harvest, and we’ve gone without any major effect" by the weather, Beard said.
Growers are harvesting the greens, too, which they try to sell to meet demand between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, he said. The crop is shipping in good shape.
Severe cold weather actually hit Colquitt County later this year than normal. The first plant-killing frost was Dec. 3, Beard said, three weeks later than normal.
“Like I’ve told a few folks, it is winter, even in Georgia,” Beard said.