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Farmers Almanac
The 2014 Farmers Almanac
Farmers' Almanac

Is all this snow good for your garden?

Ever hear the weather lore: “Year of snow, crops will grow”?

Think about it this way:

Sub zero temperatures mean that snowfall is much lighter because there isn’t much water vapor in the air

When temperatures are closer to 32 degrees Fahrenheit snowfall can be heavy and wet.

Years ago many farmers decided that if there was a snowy winter, temperatures wouldn’t be that cold, so the planting season could start earlier in the year.

They also thought there would be more water from the snow melt to help seeds sprout and seedlings grow.

Thus, the proverb Year of Snow Crops.

Maybe thinking about this weather lore will help give you the patience to get through this long, snowy winter, and help you get a jump start on your garden.

8 comments

1 Paul Ruth { 02.12.14 at 11:07 am }

It was good that the soil was frozen quite deep(couple feet here in Sandusky Co.
Ohio) before all this snow. Be easier to prepare for planting.

2 abbymm25 { 01.18.12 at 4:37 pm }

I couldn’t plant until May though because we kept getting snow all the way up until the middle of April… Was harvesting until sometime in Oct/Nov of 2011…

3 abbymm25 { 01.18.12 at 4:35 pm }

Well 2010/2011 winter for us up here in MI was a pretty hard snowy winter, I had one of the most bountiful gardens I’ve ever had last year (2011)… IDK if that helps or not…

4 Jane Smith { 08.31.11 at 12:32 pm }

annieb, probably the best way to make lots of rich topsoil is through composting. Adding old and/or composted animal manure (mostly just from grass-eating animals–meat eaters can carry infectious “bugs”)–doesn’t hurt, either. But if you use LOTS of straw (and even leaves and cut grass) placed liberally around your plants and between rows in your garden–even up to a foot thick or more–it will choke out weeks, then turn into rich, composted soil for the next year. That straw and the newly composted soil will also attract worms, whose castings will further enrich and aerate your next years’ garden soil greatly. If you use a thick enough layer, you can even use hay and cut grass without the seeds growing and making your weeds even worse. But the real trick here is a very heavy layer, which most of us aren’t used to seeing in ordinary vegetable gardens. There are many good resources that will give you more detailed information in libraries and on the internet. I found some of the best information from a book about “postage-stamp” gardening, i,e.very small, high-yielding gardens. It really works! Good luck!

5 Nanette Wilbanks { 05.16.11 at 1:18 pm }

Asking for any tips to help our garden. We live in the upstate of South Carolina where theres a good bit of red clay type dirt here. Ours was even worse than alot of folks dirt, because the owner had sold the topsoil years ago.. not sure how long ago, but, we’ve lived here for 33 yrs now! It has improved somewhat, with the help of lime, and other things, such as the vines and corn stalks that decay into the garden. Anyway, I know theres certain plants that do better when put near other certain plants. For example, marigolds are supposed to keep pests away or some anyway because of their smell. We’ve planted bronco green beans, boston pickling cucumbers , zucchini and yellow crookneck squash, bell peppers, cayenne peppers, Banana peppers, various types tomato plants, Clemson spineless okra, and I think we’re gonna plant some corn although my husband thinks its too late.. several others I’ve seen have corn thats no more than knee high and some not even that high, so I don’t think it’d hurt to plant it. Hope someone can give me some advice.. btw we mixed some peat moss with topsoil and some potting soil and put a little down all the rows BEFORE we planted the seed in the hopes that it’d give the plants a little help starting out. thanks for any and all suggestions, whether its personal knowledge or experience OR a websites..

6 annieb { 02.27.11 at 7:42 pm }

old farmers observed.. hence they learned.
pretty basic, huh

7 kyrie { 02.14.11 at 10:55 am }

I was just wondering about this. Has anyone tracked any data to correlate this?
I also am pondering trying to save some of the melted snow for any beneficial properties. Anyone else do that??

8 Steven Shepard { 04.07.10 at 11:46 am }

Snow also puts nitrogen into the soil. That is an element that my garden always needs.

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