Shh, the Garden Is Sleeping

gardensleepsa

The garden is fast asleep under a blanket of snow softer than down. It’s been four years since we’ve had a snow this thick. It’s not a heavy snow by no means. Eight years ago we measured the snow by the feet, we were snowbound for a week, our well froze, and we survived by melting snow on our wood stove for water until it warmed enough for the well to thaw.

gardensleepsb

The garden may seem asleep, but underneath the snow, an army of bacteria and fungi are crunching through the remains of this year’s vegetables, breaking them down and turning them into soil. According to Dr. Elaine Ingham of The Soil Food Web:

The most rapid rates of decomposition ever recorded on this planet, in any ecosystem, occur in the winter, under the snow, in temperate areas.

According to her, at the surface of the soil, where there is free water in the interface between the snow and soil, conditions are perfect for bacteria and fungi to thrive. Deeper in the soil, garlic, shallots, and potatoes are sending out roots, preparing for spring, just a few months away.

On December 21, 2016, at 10:44 Universal Time, 2:44 am Pacific Time, just 12 days away, the northern hemisphere starts to tilt toward the sun again. For gardeners, it is the start of a new year.

gardensleepsc
gardensleepsd
gardensleepse

This entry was posted in How Things Grow. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Shh, the Garden Is Sleeping

  1. Margaret Smart says:

    I especially like the last two pictures with the flowers and snow. The artist in me sees a couple of pretty paintings.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s