PEI

'1st real killing frost' may have set cold records on P.E.I.

A hard frost settled over Prince Edward Island overnight Monday, and unofficial readings show record cold in Charlottetown and Summerside.

'All the real tender crops are definitely done'

The sunrise revealed frosty fields Tuesday morning. (Kevin Yarr/CBC)

A hard frost settled over Prince Edward Island overnight Monday, and unofficial readings show record cold in Charlottetown and Summerside.

Initial readings show -0.8 C in Summerside early in the morning. The previous Sept. 25 record was 0 C in 1898.

Charlottetown appears to have set records for both Sept. 24 and Sept. 25. It fell to -1.4 C in the evening on Monday, and was -0.9 C in the early morning. The previous Sept. 25 record was -0.6 C in 1950.

Official temperatures will not be recorded until Wednesday morning.

Moveable greenhouses save some plants

The temperatures spread a carpet of white frost, and signalled an end to the harvest season for some crops for some farmers.

"This is what we would call our first real killing frost," said Amy Smith of Heart Beet Organics in North Wiltshire.

"All the basil plants are down, the zucchini, eggplants, cucumbers. All the real tender crops are definitely done."

Anyplace where they were in contact with the plastic, those parts of the plants are black.— Amy Smith 

But Smith said they were able to save the tomatoes with moveable greenhouses.

"We were able to tuck the tomatoes in for the night and keep the frost off of them, so when we went out to look at them this morning they were just fine," she said.

"Some of the plants are quite tall, up over seven, eight feet high, and they actually reach the top of the structure and are actually touching the plastic, and anyplace where they were in contact with the plastic, those parts of the plants are black. They're dead."

Smith said Monday was busy because they knew the frost was coming. In addition to covering the tomatoes all the winter squash was picked, piled, and covered with a tarp to protect it from the frost.

While it was an especially hard frost for the time of year, Smith said it was not particularly surprising. She said they hope to be picking tomatoes in the greenhouses for another few weeks.

The P.E.I. Potato Board also reported damage to potato plants and foliage "in most areas."

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About the Author

Kevin Yarr is the early morning web journalist at CBC P.E.I. You can reach him at kevin.yarr@cbc.ca.

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