Cold, rainy spring pushes back planting for local farms, greenhouses


POLAND, Ohio (WYTV) – Farmers and gardeners are anxious about the onslaught of cold weather lately, saying even one particularly cold and rainy week can lead to a disastrous summer.

“It did come at a bad time. This is the perfect time to plant,” said Al Carano, owner of Carano’s Greenhouse on South Avenue in Boardman.

He said this weather is pushing back their production schedule. The soil is cold and wet now, which makes for awful planting conditions.

“Anything that is flowered will turn brown and die off the plant, and any of the leaves can get tipped — you know, the tips of them can get brown — or it could just kill them altogether,” Carano said.

Just a few minutes up the road, Molnar Farms in Poland is feeling the heat from this cold spell.

“Your heart and your stomach just tightens up immensely because they can be devastating,” Rick Molnar said.

He plans on opening the farm for the season at the end of May or beginning of June but said the weather might force him to push it back.

This week is the optimal time to start planting summer fruits like tomatoes. Instead, Molnar’s plants are sitting in his warehouse on a wagon.

“They’re not doing us any good on the wagon, but we were just cautious,” he said. “When we saw the extended outlook, we decided, ‘Forget it.'”

Molnar is worried about the crops he’s already planted like corn, peaches, and strawberries. One cold night could kill all of their hard work.

“We’re a little concerned that they’ve been in there long enough and it’s cold, or wet, or they don’t rot,” he said.

Molnar said weather events like this happen every season, forcing farmers to play Russian Roulette with their crops.

“We gamble every day when we put our crop out. We pay for everything, we invest in it, and we have no idea. It may be three months, five months, before we see an end result.”

Carano agrees that this kind of weather is just a part of farming and gardening, and most of the time, it’s worth it.

“We’re anxious, but the weather will straighten out. Just have to be patient. When you’re in this kind of business, you have to take the good with the bad,” Carano said.

He hopes to be out planting within the next week. Then they’ll be out in full force, working at super speeds to compensate for lost time.

For home gardeners trying to figure out when to plant in this weather, the experts shared a few tips:

  • Vegetables like broccoli and lettuce are okay to plant while the soil is still cold and wet
  • Don’t plant fruits like strawberries and peaches in this weather because they’ll die
  • Wait until after Memorial Day to plant flowers when the weather is most suitable

Many farms are right by the roadside, so farmers are asking drivers to be careful when driving past a farm or behind a tractor.