Poland grower uses ice to protect plants from cold

A frigid February and cool spring have put crops in jeopardy

Molnar Farm in Poland, Ohio is using ice to keep its plants from freezing.


POLAND, Ohio (WKBN) – Protecting plants against the fluctuating spring weather is no easy task. But Rick Molnar, with Molnar Farm in Poland, has several different tricks up his sleeve to protect against the frigid temperatures.

Molnar said he planted tomatoes in the beginning of May, so they use a row cover to protect those plants. It is a material that can provide four to six degrees of protection for the plants.

Molnar said most plants can survive the lower and middle 30s, but once temperatures drop into the 20s it can be devastating.

To help protect blossoming strawberries, Molnar uses a sprinkler system, which creates a layer of ice on the field. He says as long as the ice stays wet, the blossoms will not go below 32 degrees. The plants are protected by the energy that the water releases when it freezes.

If the sprinklers would stop, the ice will dry and kill the plants, turning them black.

Molnar said he thought he lost his entire peach crop during a cold snap in March.

“We thought we lost everything. Surprisingly, we came through and the buds weren’t open – the flower was not open. It burned a little on the outside, but we have a crop,” Molnar said.

Molnar said the crop will not be 100 percent, but he is optimistic.

Molnar Farm, 3115 E. Western Reserve Rd., Poland,  will open around June 1, and strawberries will be available first. Sweet corn, tomatoes and peppers will be available in July and Peaches by late July.

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