It was -5C this morning. Frosty. Crunchy. So cold, in fact, that it hurt a little bit to take the first outdoor breath.
Recent winters have not been like this. Recent winters have been damp and grey with hardly any really cold spells. It didn’t really snow at all last winter that I recall. Yet this winter already, In January, we’ve had a couple of snowfalls that lasted longer than one day and four or five really cold snaps where the mercury dropped well below zero for a few days at a time and windscreens needed de-icing as we set out for work.
From a garden perspective this prolonged cold is good. Cold can kill slugs and snails as well as fungal spores – something we have suffered from a lot in recent years. Of course it doesn’t kill them all but it does mean that once temperatures and light levels rise in late March, emerging shoots are less likely to be grazed off immediately by lurking molluscs and damp conditions don’t immediately mean blackspot on roses in May.
On the other hand, I’ve already lost three clay pots to the frost – shards falling away as the compost inside swells against its confines. Admittedly, these were cheap garden centre pots and it means I can sneakily replace them with newer [and therefore more expensive and beautiful] ones before my wife notices.