Winter will carry on till Spring!


Was the satirical headline I saw posted on Facebook the other day. Others have included, “Shock at cold weather expected this winter.”

I welcome the cold. It helps to cut down on many pests in the garden, reduces the problems bees have with varroa because the lay the eggs in the brood cells and a prolonged cold period means no eggs laid and no brood. So I am hoping that the frosty weather continues for a few weeks. The picture shows a living willow screen being planted around the apiary on Trumpington Allotments in January 2012. It has established well and means the bees fly upwards on leaving the hives rather than across people’s plots at head hight. It also provides a windbreak and early pollen and nectar for the bees.

Crops that do better with a cold spell include apples and other top fruit, apples requiring the longest chill period which can be up to 42 days below 7C. When they get this period both the yield and quality of the fruit are improved. Even citrus such as orange need this though the temperature for them is much higher!

So if you are at all interested in complementary therapies, don’t wish away the cold too much as many of the plants used to provide the remedies rely on periods of cold. Even those associated with warmer climes mostly need the (for those areas) colder weather of winter to produce well.