Frosts hurting Kapiti Coast gardeners

Last updated 10:46 04/07/2012

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Severe frosts on the Kapiti Coast this week have hit market gardeners hard.

The airport in Paraparaumu recorded its third-lowest July temperature on record on Monday morning, at -4.2 degrees Celsius.

It was -4C yesterday, and -3.8C on Sunday.

Monday's reading was the third-lowest for July since records began in 1953. The lowest was -4.8C in July 2001.

Te Horo market gardener Joe Young, who has been a grower in the area for more than 20 years, said his lettuces and broccoli were hardest hit, slashing his crop by 30-40 per cent.

"For the past couple of days, frosts are still on the ground at 11 o'clock in the morning. That is very unusual.

"Lettuce and broccili have been burnt. If we were not hit by the frosts we might have got 100 cases [of each], but the frosts have hit us so hard we will be lucky to get 60 or 70."

In Levin, temperatures dropped to 2.6C on Monday, and 0.3C yesterday. A low of 7C was recorded at Wellington Airport on Monday and 2.3C yesterday; in Masterton 2C was the minimum on both days.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research climate scientist Georgina Griffiths said three consecutive days of air frosts were notable on the Kapiti Coast.

"But July is the coldest month of the year. More mobile weather systems are starting to affect the country, which should see a change in temperatures and a reprieve from frosty mornings."

Contact Kay Blundell
Kapiti reporter

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