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What a difference a year makes

8:12 PM, Mar 19, 2013   |    comments
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Last March, record warm temperatures had gardeners chomping at the bit, while some farmers' nerves were frayed by the prospect of early blossoms that could be damaged by a late frost.

Apple farms, like Randall Orchards in Standish, had trees full of blossoms weeks ahead of schedule thanks to unseasonably warm temperatures.  The concern quickly became what would happen to their crops if the weather returned to normal.

Randall Orchards was spared that outcome, but not all apple farmers were so lucky.

"This is probably closer to a normal Maine year," stated Shawn Brannigan, general manager at Allen, Sterling, and Lothrop Garden Center, as he plowed out his parking lot.  "Last year was very unusually early."

"We already had in loads of tress at this time last year.  We were already selling bark mulch and compost to landscapers in bulk," he added.  "What was so nice about last year is that our season is so tight already, so it spread it out so we could service people a little better."

He says he expects gardeners to be ready to start digging in the earth once they finish digging out from this latest storm. 

"You probably could plant peas right now if you got the snow out of the way," reasoned Brannigan.

Another group of people looking for relief from Old Man Winter are the boys of summer.

"I think Mother Nature is not a baseball fan, but this is just part of playing baseball in Maine," said Chris Cameron, the assistant general manager of the Portland Sea Dogs.  "Whenever we open up at home, all the odd years, we have the late winter storms."

Prior to this most recent storm, Hadlock Field was nearing game shape, now it is buried under yet another blanket of snow.

"We've gotten used to this over the years, and we have got the best grounds crew around, so we have no doubt that we will have this field ready to go for opening day on April 4th," said Cameron.

Cameron is not relying solely on the weather to make this bold prediction.  He says members of the grounds crew will be at the ballpark, shovels in hand, early Wednesday morning to start clearing the field to help give them a better chance of being ready for the season.


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