Delayed spring good for some Sask. businesses, bad for others

·3 min read
Philip Rispens says his greenhouse bills are soaring as temps plummet. (Fiona Odlum/CBC News - image credit)
Philip Rispens says his greenhouse bills are soaring as temps plummet. (Fiona Odlum/CBC News - image credit)

Spring officially arrived 33 days ago, but Philip Rispens feels like he is still waiting.

He owns and operates Sherwood Greenhouse and Landscape Ltd. in Regina. Usually by this time of year, his store is buzzing with people planning their gardens and starting to get their lawn in shape after winter.

But with snow still on the ground, seed sales are frozen.

"Typically, you know, end of April, you can start doing that. And right now, most people don't even see their lawn yet," he said.

The frozen ground and heaps of snow are only some of Ripens's challenges. Consistently cold temperatures are also working against him.

This time of year daytime highs in Regina should average close to 12.9 C, with overnight lows of –0.6 C. According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, the average daily high temperature for this April is 4 C and overnight lows are averaging –5.1 C.

"We are still heating even during the day because it's not very sunny, and the daytime highs are like 10 degrees below average. Ultimately it increases costs. So it's it's definitely challenging" Rispens said.

ECCC
ECCC

Rispens worries that if the long range forecast doesn't improve, he may need to start raising his prices to absorb the costs of keeping his plants warm. The projected temperature trend from ECCC show the cards may not be in Rispens favour.

Weather apps always open

Just 40 kilometres south of Rispens greenhouse you find Todd Lewis in Gray, Sask. He is a canola producer on his five-generation heritage farm.

Lewis checks the weather multiple times a day hoping that it will warm up, but he isn't as concerned as Rispens. Lewis appreciates the extra snow.

"We've really replenished our surface water like dugouts and so on. So that's been a positive. It's been a slow melt. So what we did have in the field is soaked into the field as well," he said.

Fiona Odlum/CBC News
Fiona Odlum/CBC News

The moisture will be critical for his fields to repair after the severe heat during the 2021 growing season. Lewis knows he is lucky and that other areas of the province not too far away from his farm are in a completely different situation.

"The southwest is bone dry and needs moisture and then the southeast is looking at flooding this year," he said.

As Lewis' equipment sits idle in his barn, he isn't too worried about the later seeding start date.

"Most farmers in Saskatchewan kind of look at the first of May as maybe a potential starting point in a lot of years. And of course, this year we're going to be later than that. But once it gets into May, that's seeding time."

RCMP
RCMP

Both growers have the same message for Mother Nature: it needs to warm up soon.

"Stop with the freezing weather, let's say for at least the next 6 months, that would be nice," Lewis pleaded.

For now, Environment and Climate Change Canada and The Weather Network are calling for continued below-average temperatures and periods of snow into the beginning of May.

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