Greenhouse damage at Lester's Farm won't delay spring opening

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Greenhouse damage at Lester's Farm won't delay spring opening

A St. John's farm is looking on the bright side after last weekend's wind storm damaged several structures on the property.

Five greenhouses sustained damaged at Lester's Farm on Brookfield Road on Saturday, when hurricane-force gusts tore through the region. 

Co-owner Chris Lester said that while the damage is still a setback, damage to only five of their 17 greenhouses is manageable and could have been much more devastating. He said they will still open on time later this spring.

"We're quite fortunate we didn't have any crops in there," he told CBC from inside one of the damaged greenhouses.

"Our structures are still good. It's just the plastic and the polycarbonate coatings missing — they're somewhere very far east of here, we're not too sure."

Lester said had the same storm happened two months in the future — when they are in the middle of growing flowers inside the greenhouses — the losses would have been much more substantial. Currently, the structures only have benches and other equipment inside.

The brighter side

The farm also narrowly avoided disaster with the vegetables they're growing using hydroponics. As the system requires electricity to get the water flowing, even a short period without power could ruin all the plants.

"We were lucky enough we had our generators going to keep the water pumping," Lester said. "There are very little roots here, and if the water had have stopped pumping for even an hour, we would have lost everything in this greenhouse."

Lester said there are positives that came out of the damage, including the fact that they no longer have to move perennials outside from one of the affected greenhouses.

"I guess on the brighter side, we don't have to do that now anymore because there's no plastic on this greenhouse," he said.

"Also, we've always got people looking for used greenhouse plastic to cover their greenhouses, that's not going to problem this year — we've got an abundance of it."