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.
Well so far when I checked last weekend my broad beans which I sowed in late October/early November were fine and showing their heads above the ground.
There was the odd patch of what I assume was frost/snow burn on some leaves, was planning on planting some more in the spaces to take over from the ones that failed in initial sowing or those killed by the winter.
You’re right though you have to go with the flow and what happens one year is only a general guide for the following years.
I still have some ground to get covered over with manure but there seems to be a go slow on the supply right now, assume he is snowed in but I doubt it we have not had enough yet.
Oh the snow started here just after 8pm and has not stopped yet, everything is covered already. Might give the allotment a miss this weekend but will see how I feel on Sunday and/or what the weather is like.
The met office said winters are getting warmer and wetter
Unfortunately all they have to go on are statistics and we all know what statistics prove! If we have another couple of winters like this and the last one they’ll have to revise their statistics and then they’ll tell us winters are getting colder….until we have a few warm ones.
A belated welcome to country life. It’s great once you get used to being a bit more organized than you were in town. Our nearest proper supermarket is 16 miles away although we do have some shops only 9 miles away where we can get most things. And the community aspect is the best part about it. If I saw a young lad walking down the street with an uncovered airgun in the town I’d be phoning the police. Out here it’s just “Chris is off for some rabbits again” and with a bit of luck we’ll get one!
I get the distinct feeling our neighbours have been checking the new people are surviving! We’re well and truly snowed in now but toasty warm thanks to a load of scrapwood.
I really must get better at this planning ahead though, we can’t afford to nip back to the shops because I forgot to pick up something.
As for guns.. a youngster with an air rifle in the street would probably get an armed response unit and the helicopter in Crewe and a shotgun would as likely as not be sawn off.
It’s funny, after 35 years we’ve finally come home.
It’s a nice feeling knowing that you belong somewhere. This is a god forsaken part of west Cumbria but, oddly enough my Dad was stationed at an airfield not far from here during the war and he met my mum at a village dance. A lot of my ancestors were Cumbrian but, being a dyed-in-the-wool Yorkshireman, I never had any real intention of moving here. We just sort of ended up here. Isn’t fate a funny thing.
Next spring you’ll have to wander the local lanes and find the best spots for foraging. We have the usual brambles, sloes and mushrooms but there’s also wild plums, crab apples and samphyre on the marshes.
Hi John, when I saw this article on Discovery I thought you might be interested in it.Every lil’ bit of info helps.
I have been following your exploits for ever so long and I am a big fan of Val’s recipes. I am in New Orleans, so our growth and planing cycles do not match.
God Bless you both and here’s a toast to many , many more years of interesting growing and blogging.
Merry Christmas one and all!!!!!!!
just moved to cumbria and from yorkshire too.
just wanted to say hi and ask for tips on growing here , havent cleared my plot yet as only just got it ,but looking forward to the new season as ive been 12 years without any form of escape for my growing bug