Saturday, 17 April 2010

Late Spring Frosts - Belt and Braces

"When the wind is in the East, 'Tis neither good for man nor beast"
I've just read in the paper that there has been longer periods of East winds this Spring than we would normally expect. This partly explains why, even though recent days have looked nice and sunny, the wind still nips, and when the sun goes behind a cloud it feels like January. Winds that blow across the North Sea before arriving in the UK tend to bring cold damp weather, and traditionally were said to make people depressed. Voltaire said the  " le vent d'est" blew in England in March and November and that during his visit in 1727 it affected everyone so much that suicides were commonplace, and in fact the entire country became miserable and grumpy. Must have felt like home from home for Monsieur V then.


Anyway, back in the veg garden, and for once the Met Office got it right yesterday and, as predicted, the the remains of a ground frost was in evidence as I peered out of the bedroom curtains this morning. So I was glad that I had taken a few minutes to cover my new plantings of salad leaves and peas with  horticultural fleece held down with a few stones. And as another cold night is likely tonight, I'd suggest keeping an eye on the weather forecast and investing in a bit of fleece, or plastic or whatever you have that will just keep the frost away from the new and tender leaves, if you've planted anything out.  Not that I'm alway so careful, mind you, but I always think it's worth taking a gamble with early plantings, as long as you adopt a belt and braces attitude - putting a few out early and saving the rest for later - if the worst happens and frost (or slugs/chickens/rabbits) get your plants you've still got some left for a second go, but if you get away with it, you've got nice early pickings. Go on, live dangerously.

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