Monday, January 12, 2009

Harvest Day - it's too darn cold!

I was going to go out and show you my coldframes today:


But I figured with the -20 temps that we were going to get shortly that I shouldn't take the insulating blanket off my babies until next week when temps are going to moderate again.

Snow as an Insulator

A gardener friend once told me that the average temperature under a good snow cover was about -5 Degrees Celcius. This intrigued me so I thought we should put it to the test and find out what the experts said. Apparently inside a well built igloo, the temperature is around 2C. Snow can help protect plants from the freezing and drying winds of winter and moderate temperatures so that the plants don't go through repeated freeze thaw cycles. I'm not the only one who says so - there are other bloggers like in This Garden Is Illegal.

Anyhow, don't curse the white stuff except when you're shovelling and then make mazes in your driveway and say your doing it for your kids, dogs or very hardy cats...

OK, I'm bored of this topic now.


Craig said...

I love the snow(for the sake of my garden at least).

I am forced to keep most of my fruit in a low part of my property, so it is effectively a frost trap. Come late winter I always make sure that I pile the snow onto my strawberries etc, to keep the snow on until after most of the risk of frosts has passed. Keeps them dormant till I'm ready.

Leigh said...

Paradoxically, one of the things I worry about with global warming is that a couple of degrees warming could mean that here, we could not rely on having a few feet of snow by the time the -25F and colder hits. Even though I'm in zone 3-4, we can often keep plants (I'm thinking mostly herbaceous biennials and perennials) that in a technically warmer zone would winter kill because of less or no snow cover. Winter kill usually relates to how deep the frost penetrates the ground. Here, usually the snow depth will prevent a deep freeze in the soil in the gardens... so, I know that I could go out there right now, dig through 3' of snow and dig up some carrots pretty easily... but I think I'll wait for a nice sunny afternoon with temps above 15F... stay warm!