The salad days of winter

At last, the weather is turning properly cold and more winter-like. A deep chill is about to descend. As we know, it has been the mildest of winters here in Britain, with all sorts of plants shooting new growth and breaking into flower in what should be ‘Bleak Midwinter’.

Now we have been warned that the temperature is going to plummet to -10 degrees (possibly -15) over the next few days, with snow and ice a-plenty. What a shock that is going to give to plants that have been lulled into thinking that spring is here. I think most gardeners are welcoming this cold weather. We need it to kill off unwanted pests and diseases. But what cutting off early stirrings in the plants will do to the spring parade we will have to wait and see.

One of the plusses of the warm winter so far has been the salad growing merrily outside in my beds, completely uncovered. Although bizarre, it has been a treat to be able to balance heavier winter fare with a big bowl of healthy, tasty, fresh and bouncy salad leaves. I shall miss it, and hope that the cold part of winter does what it needs to in as short a time as possible.

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