Cranberry bogs on Whalen Farms in Shamong, NJ, are flooded to keep the vines seasonably cool during a stretch of unseasonably warm January weather. Beyond the bogs, scarlet-tinged blueberry bushes hunker down waiting for spring.

While we may bask in the current stretch of warm mid-January weather, many farmers must labor to protect their crops from potential damage from unseasonably mild winter temperatures.

New Jersey’s renowned cranberries grow on ground-hugging vines in low-lying bogs in the state’s Pine Barrens region, and are especially sensitive to temperature.

In late summer and fall, when frost threatens the maturing fruit, growers will flood their bogs to moderate the temperatures with warmer water and protect their crop from frost damage.

Likewise, growers will flood bogs in winter when unseasonably warm temperatures threaten to over-stimulate the slumbering vines and potentially hurt the next year’s harvest.

Cranberries and blueberries flourish in the Jersey Pines, where the soil is sandy and acidic and the water is clean and plentiful. New Jersey ranks sixth among U.S. states in blueberry production and forth in cranberry production.

Published by The Spier

Lapsed journalist.

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