One Snowflake at a Time

January 8, 2014


Here in Apple Valley at Pahl’s Market we average 49.9 inches of the white stuff annually.  That sounds like a lot of shoveling but it usually comes only a few inches at a time.  Once in a while we get a whopper storm but that just adds to the drama of our wonderful winters.  Our numbers sound pretty good when you think of Duluth, MN which averages 80.7 inches each winter. So you ask why I am writing about snow and not plants?  Well, the plants really need good snow cover in our zone 4 climate. Snow is a wonderful insulator and as we begin to warm up in the very early days of Spring the snow will keep the ground temperatures steady.  With good snow cover the freeze/thaw cycle we must deal with every year will not effect the plants. Without snow, or a good layer of mulch, tender plant roots couldn’t tolerate freezing and thawing.  The roots break and plants, especially perennials, struggle and some don’t make it.  So, snow is a good thing.

As the snow melts in Spring, it becomes water that is nature’s own distilled water.  No chemicals or minerals, just water.  The plants will get their first drink of clean, beautiful melted snow.  What a great way to start them off.

The formation of snow crystals is fascinating too.  Each little flake begins up in the clouds in the form of a hexagon. As it moves in the clouds and grows it extends in shape from each point on the hexagon.  Depending on where it moves it will form different patterns, but all will begin as that simple hexagon shape.  They become little pieces of art if you look closely.

As each snowflake falls it will bring not only a clean pallet for you to enjoy, but also a little more protection for your lovely gardens.  I think snow helps me settle in to plan and dream about next years garden.  January is the perfect time for that.

Now is also the time to put some plans on paper as to what you will grow next summer.  Whether it will be to try a few new perennials, or the perfect new annual you saw and wanted, you can plan ahead. Dreaming of next years gardens is wonderful as you sit by a cozy fire and watch the snow gently fall.  It is a good thing, one snowflake at a time.

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