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Crops delayed by damp spring

By admin | July 7, 2010

Crops delayed by damp spring

Even the pot harvest will be affected by the cool, wet weather on Vancouver Island


Central Vancouver Island crop producers — both legitimate and illegal — are hoping warm weather forecast for this week will turn around a soggy start to the growing season.

A moist and cloudy spring has delayed vegetable and berry crops in the region by several weeks, farmers say.

Pot plantations on the Island, often hidden at higher elevations, could be even harder hit.

Dirk Becker, president of the Bowen Road Farmer’s Market, said crops overall are about three to four weeks behind, depending on where the farmer lives, the soil type and what they’re growing.

He said the effects are being felt at the local market.

“That’s certainly hurt us in the first few weeks,” he said. “It was noticed by all the farmers and all the vendors at my market.”

Grant Henry, sustainable agriculture resource centre co-ordinator for the Heritage Foodservice Co-op, said crops are one to two weeks behind schedule.

It’s hard to say exactly what kind of impact the weather will have, he added, but he doesn’t expect the moist spring to have any devastating effect.

“It can hurt, it depends on how the rest of the year goes,” said Henry. “The warm temperature is what’s really needed at this stage to get things moving.”

Heat is especially needed for grape crops in the region used for wine. Meanwhile, hay appears to be doing well, he said.

Pot crops on the Island will also likely suffer because of the moist weather, according to Ted Smith, founder of the Cannabis Buyers Club in Victoria. He also teaches a course about cannabis.

“The plants haven’t done that great,” he said. “In some ways, a cold spring might affect cannabis growers a bit more, because they have to go and use different eco-systems that aren’t always that great for farming.”

Although central and north Vancouver Island don’t always have ideal conditions for growing pot, the region has built up a reputation for outdoor marijuana gardens. Last summer was one of the best years in recent memory for outdoor marijuana crops, Smith said. The RCMP reported at the time that they had seized about 29,000 plants, up from 23,000 the previous summer.

But Smith said there’s still plenty of time for the pot crop to recover.

“If it kicks in, the sun comes out, no one will know the difference in the fall,” he said.

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