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ECHO protects plants during unusual Florida freeze

Posted at 8:09 PM, Jan 18, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-18 20:09:54-05

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla. -- ECHO Global Farm and Research center showed 4 In Your Corner how they protected their plants from freezing temperatures, Thursday.

The organization teaches sustainable farming techniques, allowing communities to feed themselves. At their North Fort Myers headquarters, spokesperson Danielle Flood showed us plants they covered with tarps overnight, to withstand temperatures in the high 20's. "We covered the peppers, the peas, anything that might suffer and have no harvest from the freeze," she said.

The organization saw minimal damage to their plants. Some banana trees did appear wilted after the freeze.

Farmers spent the night watching temperatures on the farm in 4 hour shifts, to make sure temperatures didn't get below freezing. Once they observed temperatures getting too low, they turned on sprinklers. This would freeze the plants. "We spent the time to turn on the water and encapsulated the different plants with ice. Many people would think that would hurt the plants, but in our case, it kept the farm at 32 instead of 29," Flood explained.

Farmers began uncovering plants after the sun came out. They will continue monitoring temperatures for the next few days, so they are prepared should another frost event occur.