Walking in a winter wonderland … in March… again!

Every Monday I pour my morning coffee and plan my week. Last week was so busy with talks, writing, a course day on Saturday; there was little time for gardening at home, so I scheduled Sunday as a whole day of gardening at home. Lovely.  I knew the weekend was going to be cold, however as the week progressed it became clear that the light sprinkling of snow forecast was likely to develop into something more substantial.

During the gardening course at Homeacres* on Saturday, the snow didn’t settle, but the wind was bitterly cold. By the evening, the snow fall intensified, covering the garden and we woke Sunday morning to a winter wonderland, in the middle of March.

(*My next blog will be about my work that day)

My greenhouse is old with lots of gaps. I was concerned about the more tender plants in there so went to check before breakfast. The layer of snow on the roof made it so much darker inside, but the tender seedlings were fine thankfully on their heated benches. The snow had blown in onto onions and broadbeans, but they are more resistant to cold.

In the front garden, my raised beds had disappeared.

The pond, with its frog and frogspawn population, fortunately didn’t ice over completely – much to the delight of thirsty wild birds. The teasels, holly, dog roses and seedy wild plants in my front garden all provide a habitat and food for wild creatures – it looks untidy but to the wild birds, it is a valuable winter larder. I don’t think the finches got any seeds from those teasels today though!

My neighbour Audrey fills her tree every day with several bird feeders and we sprinkled some dried bird food too for ground feeders, including dried bugs.

This snow squashed cloche prompted a visit to check the allotment cloches. Here, the brassicas have been cropping for months and are mostly finished.

Does one ever grow out of the pleasure of being the first person to walk on virgin snow? The only footprints at the allotments were from wild creatures.

My allotment still has last winter’s corn stalks to remove – something that keeps being delayed by illness (2 months of a flu bug takes its toll!) or bad weather. No problem though, it will be easy to clear when I get the opportunity.

The perennial broccoli looked rather cosy in a mini-drift. I shook the snow from the winter brassicas to prevent damage to the plants. Still many more meals from these abundant veggies.

My neighbour Adam has a huge pile of well rotted manure on his plot which attracted the attention of some hungry creature.

This is the bed of beetroot – it survived the Beast from the East under 2 layers of fleece and a layer of enviromesh, hopefully all will be well when this melts too.

I harvested this on Friday from that bed. The beetroot need trimming and aside from a little woodlice damage is looking well. This was an experiment to see how beetroot might store in the ground. I have been fortunate that rats and other rodents haven’t found it.

A snowy mangelwurzel!

Adam’s scarecrow is having a bad day!

At home, I am concerned about the early fruiting plum which is full of blossom. The temperatures are set to drop tonight – the fruit is especially sweet and delicious so I do hope it produces some.

Fortunately the layer of snow started to slide off the polytunnel by itself and didn’t damage the structure.

IMG_6835

I’ve enjoyed the snow but real spring weather would be very much appreciated now!

 

12 thoughts on “Walking in a winter wonderland … in March… again!

    1. That’s a term I am unfamiliar with, are ‘starts’ seedlings? If so yes, I have delayed sowing quite a few knowing the cold weather was coming – although wasn’t expecting this much snow! There are 2 heated benches in the greenhouse so I knew they would be safe, but didn’t want to have to move less hardy seedlings onto the cold benches. The hardier ones are fine.

      I’m going to sow more seeds today – every day this week most likely.

      When it defrosts and warms up a bit and the ground is no longer frozen I’ll be planting the onions, peas and broadbeans – and will have plenty of fleece to cover them just in case!

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  1. The thing is with this white stuff covering everything, you could write anything, I mean where you say, ‘This is the bed of beetroot . .’ – there could have been anything there 😉

    What do you do with the mangelwurzel? I thought that was just cattle food?

    Do you have any info on your heated benches? Is it warming cable under sand?

    As you say, we enjoy seeing a bit of snow, but we’ve had enough now and want to get on with proper growing, let’s hope Spring comes soon 🙂
    Jeanette

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    1. That’s true, it could just be compost under that snow and you’d be none the wiser 😉 I’ll post a photo on Twitter when (if!?!) the snow melts to show you the bed. And in one of the blogs.

      I make mangelwurzel wine! Leaving some in again was an experiment to see how hardy they are.

      One bench is warming cable under sand, the other is regular propagating benches with 2 roll out heat mats, both thermostatically controlled. That’s where the aubergines, chillies and peppers are – they are cosier than I am in the house!!

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  2. Ah, mangelwurzel wine, sounds interesting 🥂
    I’m experimenting with solar power to my polytunnel and have bought an inverter, (to convert the 12v DC to household AC as I have no power at my Allotment) and will look at putting in warming cables at a later date. (I’ve been looking for 12v heatmats and cables but can’t source any).
    We gardeners have to become very resourceful to make the most of our growing crops! I just need to find a Ray gun to zap all those nasties that want to eat my produce!
    Jeanette

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    1. Charles uses a hotbed made from fresh horse manure to raise all of his seedlings in his greenhouse, which might be a possibility for you, if there are stables near. He has a neighbour with lots of horses so that’s rather handy.

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      1. Yes, I’m a great fan of hotbeds, I usually make one in my tunnel, but haven’t this year.
        Here’s my outside one last Friday, 16 March before the snow,

        Jeanette

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  3. I sowed my onions last week and other veg , but my greenhouse is not heated so iv put them in propergaters and covered them with fleece . Hopefully they will be ok as it’s freezing here too in Kent . All the signs of spring are around with Daffodils etc but …….it just needs to warm up a bit more😃🌷. Iv just bottled my first ever wine 🍷 iv made Blackberry so fingers crossed . Keep warm x

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  4. The sound and feel of crumping through new snow is just gorgeous, isn’t it? It looks like you had a lot of snow! It is lovely to see so much in the garden though. I wish you a quick thaw and some sunshine for all of us.

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    1. Thanks Ali. The sun is out today, although the wind is bitterly cold and odd things keep flying past my window. The snow is thawing – hooray! – so this afternoon I can sow celery, spinach and herbs in the greenhouse 🙂

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