One of the differences we’ve noticed about where we are living now is the weather. Back over in Cheshire the weather would change slowly. We’d often start a day with grey cloud and by the end of the day would it would hardly have changed.
We did, of course, get surprise showers and so on but nothing like we get here. Because we’re very near the coast, the weather comes in at high speed. This morning started by getting windy just before dawn and a couple of hours later we watched a rain belt coming in.
Now I don’t mean it drizzled, this was a horizontal cloudburst, hammering the west windows as it tried to get in! An hour later it moved off and we had patches of blue sky between fluffy white clouds.
As I write now, there are heavy rain clouds again and we’re waiting for the promised snow. Being 600 feet up the hillside, our temperature tends to be a couple of degrees below that at sea level. So we can actually be snowed in when just a half mile away it’s clear and green.
This micro-climate makes life more interesting although it is challenging for a grower. Even though I’ve written in my books that people need to adjust things for their particular circumstances, I still get emails saying things like “you say to plant so and so in March but it was too cold for them” You really have to use your noggin when growing.
It’s been 17 years since we’ve had such a cold start to the winter and it looks like we’re in for a long, hard one as well. Yet the met office has said that winters are tending to be warmer and wetter than previously.
A trend is not a fixed forecast, it’s possible we’ll be looking at white snow in February but who knows? That’s part of the art of gardening, you can’t predict weather accurately for months ahead but you can prepare for the eventualities.
For example, if you sowed some broad beans back in November before the snow, there’s a good chance you’ll lose most if not all of the crop. But a second sowing in the spring will ensure you’ve got some.
What I’m trying to say is that there is nothing fixed, no firm calendar that tells you what day to sow an what day to reap. You just have to guess and hope you get it right.
We’ve had a rush of book orders and we’re getting them into the post as fast as we can but as of today we can no longer guarantee pre-Christmas delivery. We had a few ‘where’s my order?’ questions because we were snowed in with the last lot and couldn’t get to the post office. Then we ran out of stock and the delivery to us was delayed as the wholesaler was snowed in.
Add to this that the post office has problems and backlogs and you can see that we are subject to circumstances outside of our control. Bit like growing. You do all you can but you can’t make the sun shine on schedule.