Gardeners are blessed when snow falls


Gardeners are blessed when snow falls

Snow supports a freeze-thaw cycle which improves the structure of the underlying soil. As the soil freezes then thaws it becomes more porous and less compacted. The lighter more porous soil will be easier for plant roots to penetrate when planting time comes later in the spring. Long time gardeners will recall improved growing seasons following a snowy winter.

Since snow is basically water, it is predictably desirable in areas which have experienced an actual drought or lessened rainfall. If the gardener or farmer starts the season with limited soil moisture, planting may be reduced or eliminated. The size of the planting is an obvious factor since gardening in a small plot or containers can be watered but a whole farm would be impractical.

Garden writers have long referred to snow as “poor man’s fertilizer.” As snow falls through the air, various chemical compounds are picked up by the snow and dropped onto the gardens and fields. The primary plant nutrient that is supplied is nitrogen. Rain actually carries more nitrogen to the ground than snow but rain tends to run off or be absorbed quickly. The advantage of snow is that is melts slowly and leaves the nitrogen in the soil frequently in the form of a compound that plants can readily use without conversion.



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