At a time of year when strawberries should be plump, red and ready to pick at Grandpa’s Garden west of Moose Jaw, Sask., owner Dennis Derksen is struggling to find the perfect strawberry.
They planted more than 15,000 strawberry plants and only half of the yield survived. The raspberry season also ended early.
“I’ve never seen it that dry before in my life, it’s been devastating for the crops of course,” Derksen said.
“It’s disheartening because each one of those plants we put in there by hand.”
Grandpa’s Garden has a fallback though.
Derksen is in the honey wine business too and owns Prairie Bee Meadery.
The bees have adapted well to the hot conditions.
“They haven’t had to worry that it was raining and they could go outside and didn’t get hit by a rain drop. The honey this year has been really good.”
Regina and District Bee Club president Yens Pedersen said the hot and dry weather is beneficial to bees as long as irrigation keeps blossoms and flowers alive.
“When it’s dry the plant doesn’t bloom as much or as long, so the yield might be down but the insects and bees will still be coming to those blossoms. So you’ll still notice that there will be bees all over when those plants are blooming,” Pedersen said.
As for Derksen, he’s working on his wine while on standby for his strawberries to ripen.
“We had an inch of rain, the strawberries are starting to come. They look like the should have in May, and in two or three weeks we will have big, delicious strawberries,” Derksen said.
Grandpa’s Garden will also have tomatoes, peppers and melons to offer over the next few weeks.