Strawberries blooming early across the Cape Fear
BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — Unseasonably warm days across the Cape Fear have some plants confused. One Ash strawberry farm is starting to see berries.
“We’ve picked strawberries before in December out here so the weather really dictates when they’ll come off and when they’ll be ready,” said Katherine Ingram, co-owner of Waccamaw River Farm and Nursery.
The Ingrams have been growing strawberries for 12 years on their farm.
Every year, the family plants hundreds of strawberry plants in late October, in hopes of full bloom by April but, the final number relies on the weather in between. This year’s weather has put many plants at risk.
“The plants are in danger, if they push out new growth that is young and tinder and fresh and then we have a cold snap that reaches freezing temperatures or below,” said NC Cooperative Extension Director at the Arboretum Lloyd Singleton.
The Ingram’s farm is showing signs of strawberry bloom but, they hope this stops soon so they have more berries to sell come April.
“They think it’s spring time and we’re hoping that we don’t have a hard freeze or a bad cold for the rest of the year,” said Billy Ingram.
Singleton says a blanket cover, which the Ingrams have, could protect the farm. He says centipede grass and camellia are also at risk but, as the plants start to turn brown, don’t try and get rid of it.
“Pruning is basically a trigger for a flush of new growth and so, again, we don’t want to encourage that new growth until where the risk of freezing is gone,” said Singleton.
With 40 days away from the official start of spring, planters say they hope the cold temperatures stay away from the Cape Fear.
If you are you an ice cream lover? Well, Calabash Creamery uses Waccamaw River Farm and Nursery’s fresh strawberries for their original strawberry ice cream. Stop by in April and you should be in for a tasty treat!