Vegetable farmer Walter Driggers believes his small tomato plants escaped damage from the frost and near-freezing weather over the past week. But he couldn't have been as certain if temperatures had dropped any lower.
"I think we're okay, but only by a little bit," said Driggers, who grows tomatoes, corn, and sweet onions. "We always know we may see a little cool snap around Easter. But we never expect it to be in the lower 30's."
Driggers said they'll continue to plant corn and transplant tomato sprouts for the summer. He said severe cold can lead to burns and disease on younger plants. In another field, his sweet onions are just weeks from harvest. He and others think they'll survive as well.
"These onions are near maturity and that helps them withstand the cold better," explained Cliff Riner, Tattnall County's UGA Extension agent. "It will slow their growth just a little bit. However, shoppers will still see some onions in the stores right on schedule."
Licensed Vidalia Onion growers and the Georgia Department of Agriculture announced this week onions can be shipped as of April 15. Growers entered into a federal order back in the 1980's to allow Georgia's Ag Department to govern shipping and sales to protect the crop's quality.