Why Snow is Good for Your Garden
Here in Kentucky, we never know if we’re going to get “white stuff” or not.
Sometimes we can go through a winter without any accumulation to speak of. Sometimes things never get a good freeze. Other years we get dumped on.
In 2013-14 we had a horrible, freezing winter. The temperatures were well below freezing for months. It was -30 (that’s 30 below zero) with the wind chill. It was crazy cold for us Kentucky folk and our poor, poor cows were not sure what happened.
We all survived and benefited from the hard freeze.
This year has been mild so far and we could use some cold, freezing weather. This December has felt like winter in Tampa, which is not what we want in Kentucky.
Tampa? Winter? I know about these things – I lived in Tampa, F;orida for 3 years. In Tampa there were 2 seasons: Summer and January. It was hysterical. It would drop ALL THE WAY DOWN to 50 degrees and people were bundled up like it was 30 below. Coats, gloves, hats, scarves. So, so funny. I made fun of all my friends in their winter gear. They all claimed the same thing: thin blood. I just smiled.
We do not want a Tampa winter. We want a good, long, hard freeze. Bring on the white stuff!
I was so happy to wake up to a blanket of snow covering the homestead this morning.
Why Do I Want Snow? (and you should too!)
- So the squash bugs will freeze
- So the green worms will freeze
- So the bees will go away
- So the funk, diseases and fungus will freeze
So we can have a Healthy & Successful Gardens
Think of the freezing temperatures as a deep-cleanse for your garden, a fresh start, a clean slate.
Right now my garden is under a blanket of white (which is great because it turns all the squash bugs into squash-icicles).
When we have mild winters it wreaks havoc on the people and on all the gardens. When things don’t freeze the bugs, the diseases, the mosquitoes, the bees, the gnats, the fungus’ (or is it fungi?), they all just pick up where they left off last summer. It’s insane. Come summer, not only will I get to deal with all of “this” years bugs, I will have to deal with “last” years bugs (and their descendants) because they never died.
Without a good, hard freeze you’re gonna have greater challenges growing next years crops, because if the bugs don’t get it, the diseases will.
If you live in a climate without freezing winters, I feel for you. I can imagine that growing a garden is probably more challenging (and buggy).
If you live where things freeze in winter, be thankful for the cold. It probably helps you more than you realize.
3 years ago we made the mistake of buying 4 chickens from another farm. They had been exposed to infectious Bronchitis. We had no idea that the chickens we purchased (and brought home) were sick. It wasn’t until our entire flock started dropping dead that we realized the graveness of our mistake. Infectious Bronchitis is extremely contagious. It is also incurable. Once a chicken has been exposed to the disease (if it survives), it will always be a carrier and will spread it to other chickens. We had to cull our entire flock. Sniff.
Once everyone was in the freezer (if you can’t keep ’em – eat ’em), we had to disinfect all the waterers, drinkers, roosting bars, nesting boxes, etc. After everything had been bleached, torched or sanitized, we still had to deal with the coop itself.
In order to “cleanse” our infected chicken coop, so our new flock wouldn’t catch the disease, we were instructed to open all the doors and windows of the coop during winter. By doing this, the “freeze” would kill any remaining, surviving, bits of Infectious Bronchitis left in corners, crevices or cracks.
Freezing temperatures are cleansing. They destroy the things that destroy.
If your farm is covered with white, smile! We have been enjoying the snow: sledding, snow boarding, building fires in our fireplace, drinking hot cocoa… And taking selfies with cows.
Stay warm everyone,
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