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What to do?

I had to drive across to Leeds from our home in the west of north Wales this week. Around home it’s pretty cold but there’s little snow around but as I left Gwynedd to Denbighshire and Flintshire things changed dramatically, deep snow piled by the side of the road like it was the middle of a tough winter rather than officially spring and just days away from British Summer Time

Then into clear areas where the grass was green and not a sign of snow, then back into snow again. The moors around the summit of the M62 are completely white, beautiful really and very dramatic but I was concentrating on driving through another blizzard, which was drama enough.

The one consistent thing through all the drive was that it is still deep winter. On the weather forecast they’re talking about temperatures dropping to minus 10 in places and this March has been the coldest since 1962.

Hence the title of this post, what to do?

Normally things are in full swing towards the end of March. I’d usually be busy sowing seeds and planting potatoes as a new season starts. But not this year. The ground is cold at best, frozen in some areas and it’s just pointless to do much outside.

Starting off greenhouse tomatoes etc. undercover makes sense, after all they’re going to be relatively independent of the outside conditions but those things we directly plant are a different story.

The only sensible course is to hold off spring sowings until winter ends and this will depend on where you are and your micro-climate. Micro-climate, by the way, is the immediate climate on your plot. For example, we’re near Caernarfon but, being 600 feet up, our temperature tends to be 2 degrees lower than down at sea level.

Behind us is Snowdon and the railway to the summit is closed as they’ve yet to clear the 30′ deep snowdrifts. Glad I’m not higher up!

Today, it’s a beautiful blue sky with fluffy white clouds, the sun casting hard shadows and it looks like a summer’s day. But it’s just 3 degrees out there and the trees are still bare. Hopefully winter will end soon.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
6 comments on “What to do?
  1. Duncan Robinson says:

    Yes, I’ve just had to pot on the my ‘Mammoth Onions’ into bigger modules because there is just no point in planting out yet even with relatively hardy stuff like onions. I have normally planted the new potatoes in raised beds on the allotment around 20th March in North Manchester, but they would just sit there at the moment doing nothing, so fingers crossed the weather will warm up by mid-April.

  2. Meg says:

    Hi John,

    I’ve just come across your site and it’s great. I did read with mounting incredulity where you are located. I did a general search of Google for allotment advice and came across you, expecting you to be in the south of England or somewhere further afield from me, but I am also on the outskirts of Caernarfon and have just acquired an allotment for the first time. Not only is it a good site, but weather speak will also be accurate for my situation. I’ve also ordered the book!

    • John says:

      @Meg: Hi Meg – small world! I based the advice in my books on our experience in Cheshire – not much different to here (except we’re 600 feet higher, equivalent to being on the border with Scotland!)

  3. Meg says:

    I’m at sea level, just over the road from Morrisons, so it’s actually quite mild.

  4. growing4mykids says:

    Hi john, just read through your post and finally, somebody close to me, i’m in prestatyn, could i trouble you and ask if i should be o.k putting my maris peers in, i put my red baron onions in about a week ago and seem to be doing o.k, any advice will be ace, thanks

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