Spring Time: DELAYED!!! We are sorry for any inconvenience caused but it appears spring is somewhat delayed this year. Of course it is not my fault but it certainly is an inconvenience for all us eager gardeners who want to get started on our vegetable patches. Weather has been significantly cold over the past weeks and frost is still common with night time temperatures set to be as low as -3 degrees any this weekend. With it being St Patrick’s weekend and the traditional time to begin sowing our potato crops, this continued cold spell it certainly an inconvenience and will mean that we should all delay our sowing for another week.
The potato crop aren’t the only thing being put on hold; sowing of lawns, cutting grass, moving out the patio furniture and all the other spring chores will be another week behind schedule. It is worth noting however that our vegetables will generally catch up and by mid summer our vegetable patches will have long forgotten the bitterly cold spring. It is with that in mind that we should try and be patient and not rush into sowing seeds before the weather is suitable.
But what gardening chores can we do now in light of this cold snap. Well there are quite a lot of things that can be done. Due to the cold weather and the lack of growth the bare root season can continue in earnest. Planting of beech hedges, native trees and other hedges will continue until bud break and growth begins.
Other tasks suited to the dormant season can continue for the time being and that includes; pruning back your fruit trees, roses and other shrubs. Of course don’t cut back spring flowering shrubs such as azaleas, magnolias, cherries or forsythia now or you will remove all the flowering buds. It would also be best to avoid any pruning if there is a chance of a strong frost.
Frost fleece should be placed over tender plants such as Fatsia, hebes, phormiums, Tree ferns and others, and if you have already sown seeds you can place frost fleece over the rows on your vegetable garden.
Sowing indoors can continue so long as you are able to provide stable day and night time temperatures. With the lengthening days the amount of sun light and light in general will allow for steady seedling growth in greenhouses and warm windowsills. But again, resist any temptation to move your young plants outdoors for the next week or so.
The one good thing about getting this cold snap now is that most of us haven’t started sowing yet and most trees and shrubs haven’t started to grow yet and are therefore still insulated from the cold. So all things going well, once the chill passes we will be into a prolonged period of warmer temperatures and frost free nights.