This week, I have been very grateful for the fact that I have built up some resilience in my garden systems, and have been careful, through permaculture approaches and careful planning, not to put all my eggs in one basket.
We have had a very late and rather unexpected cold snap, with night time temperatures lower than we had in the depths of winter! While just last week we were sat out in the garden without coats on, enjoying the warm sunshine, now temperatures have plummeted, with icy winds out of the Arctic and temperatures which dropped as low as minus 4 degrees C. overnight! (Usually at this time of year we would expect lows of around 4-5 degrees C.)
Fortunately, I have a number of strategies which mean that I do not expect to have too many losses – though there will definitely be some delays in the garden. I have mulched the potatoes I had just planted out heavily with dried leaves, to give them a little extra protection. And fortunately, the polytunnel has protected its contents from late frosts and I was able to move a few containers back inside and add a few extra cloches to make sure.
A few seedlings planted out last week likely won’t make it through unscathed. But luckily, I stagger spring sowings, and do not plant everything out all at once – in preparation for this sort of eventuality. So I have another ‘batch’ ready to go out once this bizarre cold snap is over.
Unfortunately, extreme and unusual weather events are something we are all likely to experience more frequently in the coming years. The key is to plan and prepare – and to expect the unexpected. By hedging our bets, and building resilience into our systems, we can avoid many losses. And we can make sure we still obtain useful and worthwhile yields later in the year.