Go Organic: Snow gives an excuse for indoor jobsBy James Ashford
January 18, 2013
Even Reading looks lovely in the snow and today's flurries have given the town a rare charm.
The cold snap was widely forecast and doesn’t seem to have caused too many problems locally.
And it doesn’t really cause too many problems for gardeners either.
Snow is much less dangerous at this time of year than the unusually warm weather we had at the start of the month. A warm spell in winter fools plants into putting on a tender spurt of growth which is all-too-vulnerable to a sudden freeze.
My rhubarb has been threatening to throw up a pink-tinged shoot or two which leaves the crown of the plant exposed and vulnerable.
Snow blankets the ground with an insulating layer which stops frost penetrating deep into the soil.
The downside is that it make it difficult to get on with much work outdoors. Tramping over snow-laden soil compacts it down and makes it harder to dig over in the spring.
But it does give you the perfect excuse to get on with some of the jobs that can be done indoors.
I’ve never been the tidiest gardener but even I like to give all my pots and containers a good going over once a year to make sure they are clean and serviceable. I try to be bold and recycle any that are cracked or broken and the others get a good scrubbing with some soap and hot water. As well as removing dust and grime it stops any fungal diseases lingering in the cracks and crevices.
Tools get a once over too if I get time. Good quality hand-tools are expensive and quite hard to come by.
There is an awful lot of cheap (and not so cheap) rubbish in our DIY stores and garden centres so when you manage to track down some really nice ones it is worth looking after them.
Blades should be cleaned and sharpened where appropriate and given a squirt or two of oil.
It might seem pernickety but keeping tools in good nick not only helps them last longer but it helps them cut and hoe and dig and lift more easily and makes your gardening just that bit easier.