Read our tips on limiting the damage that snow does on your plot. Snow and wintry weather doesn't affect us often in this country but when it does it can take you and your crops by surprise.
Words: Patrick Wiltshire
1) Beware cold nights
Snow ironically can protect crops from frost and cold weather but if we get a light dusting only your crops are vulnerable to succumbing to sun-zero temperatures in the evening.
TIP Double-layer young plants and tender trees with horticultural fleece and give your plants an internal environment that will shield them against frost.
2) Prevent snow-heavy boughs
If snow falls heavily then trees and shrubs can suffer. The weight of snow on boughs, particularly horizontal boughs, can snap branches which affects the look and most definitely the health of your prize plants.
TIP Make a daily habit of getting a sweeping brush and brushing off thick layers of snow off branches. it doesn't take long and it protects your plants in the long run.
3) Feed and water the birds
Your feathered friend are particularly vulnerable at this time of year with food sources scarce and temperatures sapping their energy supplies. Look after them in the winter and birds like robins and blue tits will stick around in the spring, feeding on garden pests like aphids.
TIP Feed birds high-energy seed mixes, fats and put out a plate of water to keep them hydrated so they can absorb food and vitamins into their bloodstream most efficiently.
4) Watch out for wind
A gusty blizzard will do its best to hamper your hard work. Eventually winds can uproot and unanchor crops like Brussels sprouts and cabbages which affects their development.
TIP Provide a wind-break nearby to rows of vegetables. In the short term choose a man-made windbreak like you would put up at the beach. In the long term consider creating a hedge nearby which effectively filters the wind turning a gust into a harmless breeze.
5) Look after yourself
Most importantly look after yourself and take care when walking about your plot. Wrap up warm and wear boots with good, non-slip grips.
Cold and snowy weather isn't all bad. Frost action works to break down big heavy chunks of soil into workable soil the natural way and brings earthworms to the surface. A welcome treat to the resident robin, I'm sure.