We have all seen the weather reports, we have seen the warnings. skin will freezer in meer minutes. We have been battling it here on the farm and its nasty.
We now have record breaking amount of snow for my area for the month of jan!
There are positives to this deep cold!
Snow turns into water in the spring. This is a good thing for the farm overall and the area, we have been in a level 2 drought for most of 2018.. we hit some level 3 drought in 2016 leading to one of the worst crop/hay season I have seen since being here.. then we had massive flooding in spring of 2017. It would be a very good thing indeed to have the snow pack melt out and help us have a slower more steady start to our spring!
Snow is insulation. This snow is just plan good for my plants, trees and so forth. Its outstanding insulation for their roots, it will create a protective barrier to the winds where its most needed!
While it seems odd to those that live in the city, here on the farm.. Snow can mean warmth! Once you get a good cover of snow on walls or over top prepared layers it creates a shield .. think a version of igloo. This is a very good thing when managed correctly. You can move things by shovel or by snow blower or by ditch digger with critter power.
Deep Cold will help kill off those “warmer season” ticks that have been enjoying our last few mild winters and blooming in terms of populations.. This is an Outstandingly good thing.. I will take another four to six weeks of good old-fashioned Cold Canadian Winters in return for a massive tick die off for the coming year and ideally for a couple more years to come as it will take time for it to come back. (now, the ticks should be heading down anyway in the coming year to a point because last year was going to be our worst year due to the mice boom and bust breeding cycles) Still this cold will have a much greater effect on the lime carrying ticks, and that is a very good thing indeed.
Deep Cold is a great thing in regards to killing off pest larva.
The Emerald Ash Borer Larva should be deeply effected by this very cold winter! That’s just excellent news.
Winter mortality for emerald ash borer is definitely temperature dependent. The larvae can supercool to a certain point, but they die if they freeze, and there is variability in tolerance among individual insects. A recent study from the Forest Service (Venette and Abrahamson–see attached) in Minnesota showed that 5% of the insects die at 0F, 34% at -10F, 79% at -20F and 98% at -30F.
This is just one example of how the deep cold can be helpful in this regards.
Squash Beatles have been going crazy the last couple years locally. Mild winters, combined with warm/hot springs means we have been getting two cycles of squash bugs, where I used to only have to worry about one most years.
Its been bad enough that on our local gardening group, there are gardeners that had such losses over the past few years that they are talking about not growing any in their gardens in 2019. Of course looking to the solid stemmed types will help greatly, compared to planting the more hollow stem kinds.
Still the cold has already been long enough that we will see a great reduction of the amount of adult beatles that are alive in the spring and if the snow and cold sticks around enough that we do not have an extreme” spring we will not only have a massively reduced adult breeding load but we should be starting our warm planting season at a more normal timing which means that we should only have one breeding season, instead of two!
So all those folks that love gardening! 2019 will be a good year in the squash garden in regards to not having as many squash beatles.. That’s worth another couple of days of the deep freeze! O yes it is!
I hope that this post made you think a little bit about how this cold or snow or combo of both of these are in fact helping the long term outlook for the coming year of 2019!