Mid winter...and what a winter is has been so far. December and the holidays came and went without any problems, but January was a bear. By the end of January, we ended up at about 10" above normal snowfall for the entire winter season and way below normal temperatures with eight mornings below -0- and 7 mornings in the single digits. The coldest morning I recorded was -8. The last few days of January, temperatures moderated and snow melted. On a good note, carry over insects will be reduced. On a bad note, many of the fruit crops were damaged. Ohio's Grape industry was badly damaged from the severe cold. Concorde grapes show a 20% to 30% primary and secondary bud kill. Hybrid grapes are showing from 20% to 80% bud kill depending on the variety. Vinifera grapes are showing a 100% primary and secondary bud kill. What does this mean? Huge fruit losses in Ohio. Early samples also show various cane damage but it will be spring before we know how bad the plant losses really are. It possibly will take up to 3 to 5 years for Ohio's grape industry to recover from the severe cold of this winter.
On Groundhog Day, Punxsutawney Phil predicted another 6 weeks of winter while here in Ohio, Buckeye Chuck is predicting an early spring. We'll see... but this morning as I am writing this, I am looking out at 7" of fresh snow. Luckily, most of the previous snow was already melted and gone before this batch came. With this new snowfall, the roof of the greenhouse is at it's limit and is sagging over 12" and needs cleaned off before tomorrows predicted snow and freezing rain comes. Again...what a winter. Although it doesn't compare to the blizzard of 1977, it is the worse winter since that time.