Snow & Storm

I try to keep bright and cheerful but sometimes, I have to admit, it’s a toughie. The cold and snow was bad enough but the final straw was the storm. The good news is that the polytunnel and greenhouse survived intact.

Shed Greenhouse Snow

Potting Shed & Greenhouse in the Snow

I wasn’t worried about the polytunnel, First Tunnels make ’em tough, but I was really worried about the greenhouse. Even though it is firmly fixed and reinforced, it only takes a pane of glass to go and in winds gusting around 80 mph the greenhouse is in serious danger. Happily the direction the wind was blowing was towards the house which sheltered the greenhouse and it was fine.

Crocus in Snow Closeup

Crocus in the Snow on the Patio

The big shed up in the field didn’t do so well. The wind must have rattled it so much that the door broke. A repair job that will have to wait for better weather. Pretty annoying though. At least it still shuts albeit with a gap down the side. The grandson’s play house shed was demolished beyond repair, not that I think he’ll be bothered really. Shame though.

And just while I’m having a good moan, the washing machine packed up. I swear the lifespan of appliances gets shorter as the years go on. It’s barely 5 years old. Still, it could be worse. We’re warm indoors, plenty of food in the cupboards and since we’re not travelling anywhere, safe.

On the subject of food in the cupboard, I’ve a store area inside the old cowshed attached to the house. As the temperature in the cowshed has dropped below freezing it could harm the potatoes and onions in there. I’ve a little 50 watt tube heater in there to just keep things that little bit warmer.

Sowing Plan in Tatters

View from Chicken Run

View from the Chicken Run

This sudden descent into Siberian weather has completely thrown my plans out. I was going to put some early potatoes in the polytunnel but haven’t. Whilst the polytunnel heats up nicely even in winter sunshine, the max-min thermometer shows it has fallen to -8ºC on the worst nights. I don’t think the potatoes would do well in that!

The broad beans that started so well in pots should have been planted out but the ground is frozen solid. I didn’t even dare put them in the coldframe as a drop from +5 to -8 is too big in one step. I should, if the forecast is right, be able to get them hardening off on Sunday which will free up propagator space.

Talking of propagators, the ones in the unheated greenhouse aren’t managing to keep to the set temperatures. Basically propagators are designed to raise the temperature between 10 and 20 degrees above the outside temperature. So they might be set to 15 degrees but the best they can achieve when it’s -5 is between 5 and 15 even if they’re set to 25. Worth keeping in mind.

Finally – keep warm and be safe.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
2 comments on “Snow & Storm
  1. Duncan Robinson says:

    Hi John, Yes this late cold snap has put all the work on standstill at my allotment. It has been too bitingly cold even to work in the greenhouses this week – I can’t remember such a bone chilling wind. Let’s hope for a decent March and maybe a mild Easter (an early one this year). Duncan.

    • John Harrison says:

      Amen to that, Duncan. I’m playing about revising my sowing plan now, especially in light of the Met Office predicting a cold rest of March

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