The benefit of freezing weather in the garden

Posted: Wednesday 8 February 2012
by Pippa Greenwood

Fortunately the sudden freeze means I can now do jobs that were strictly off limits beforehand, when the ground was soggy and slippery.

What a change in temperature we’ve had - it has sent many of my plans into reverse. Fortunately the sudden freeze means I can now do jobs that were strictly off limits beforehand, when the ground was soggy and slippery.

We spent much of last weekend scooping snow. The combination of a brilliant new snow shovel, and a plastic spring-tined rake, worked superbly. We pushed, rather than pulled the rake, with the ends of the tines facing upwards, using it as an efficient and seemingly indestructible scoop.

Many of my plants needed wrapping up in fleece, including recently potted dahlia tubers, and overwintering pelargoniums and osteospermums.

The wild birds were eating and drinking like never before, so we covered the top of the hedge with halved apples and pears, bowls of water, bacon rinds and fat balls.

I feel a bit mean for wiring the tops of the food containers on after the badgers broke into the bungee-secured bins containing peanuts and seed mix for birds. The badgers must be going short too, as the ground is frozen solid, but I don’t want to pay £42 for another 25kg sack of peanuts.

I’m glad, though, that the ground is like concrete. It means that the massive heap of manure can now be barrowed to the plots. Just a week ago the job seemed virtually impossible and would have taken hours longer. I tried it and both the barrow and I slid, none too gracefully, down the hill!

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woody3 08/02/2012 at 21:18

Will my purple sprouting broccli and aqua dulca broad beans recover from the frost, they re drooping now?

happymarion 08/02/2012 at 21:51

My broad beans did last winter, woody3, but I don't know about your purple sprouting broccoli. 13/02/2012 at 16:35

I wish that our garden had been slippery before the big freeze. It is solid clay but even so it hasn't been water logged. We could have done with some more rain this winter - where has it all gone?

Still the freeze has been good for breaking down a new flower bed that I had dug over. I just wish that I had got all the work done before it came. Never mind, the land is thawing out fast now (cross fingers) so I can get on again.

Emma Crawforth 15/02/2012 at 16:51

Hello woody3,

My broad beans also flopped in the recent cold weather but I'm confident that they'll be OK. Sowing them in autumn gives them a better chance of beating pests and it's well worth it even if some of the shoots don't look that good now. As for your purple sprouting, it should be pretty hardy, but it may be suffering as a result of the low rainfall we've had recently. Broccoli is a thirsty crop. I won't advise watering in case it suddenly freezes again, so I think wait and see is your best policy. I hope you get some good dinners out of it,

Emma team

Peat B 25/02/2012 at 14:12

£42.00 for BAG OF NUTS ????? EEEEEEEEEEEEEk! Here I ay merely £19.99 for a bag of finest kind nuts 'n' seeds for my Lotty swingers !!! Move oop North Lass !