We get snow at this time of year. It’s a sad fact. I remember big dumps of wet snow in May when leaves were out, seriously bending, breaking, and otherwise damaging trees. My garden notes from last year read:
“May 30th: Well, it snowed a lot. Again. I’d say the rain barrels were refilled 3-4 times over, so maybe equivalent to 20mm+ of rain. Lots. And snow, well, it doesn’t so much like eggplant, tomatoes, and grapes. F@#&er. It’s been a rough spring on plants, not from a frost perspective, but from a snow perspective, and stretches of cold.”
I recall reading [Coleman, I think] that cold-hardy plants don’t tend to be destroyed by low temperature, but instead by ice, snow, wind, etc. I also know from experience that cold hardy seedlings like spinach and lettuces can handle some snow just fine. But I’m pretty sure the half-foot+ of heavy wet stuff we just got would squash a seedling.
So into the cold frames I went to see how they’ve changed my fate. I didn’t want to remove the snow, as -9C is in the forecast, and I’ll take the free temporary insulation. The lights [lids] had frozen on a bit, and needed a kick to break the ice. They were very heavy with wet snow. But inside…well, it looked like it did the day before the snow, not surprisingly. The transplants [seen below] were fine. The direct seeded seedlings [bottom] were hanging out as if nothing had happened. Brilliant.
Ever a fan of simple passive life-improving devices – ie, non energy consumptive such as my wine and root cellars – these cold frames have thoroughly impressed so far. I’ll likely be building more. Soon.