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Snow as fertilizer

Michael Heller quotes often that "snow is the poor man's manure". It holds Nitrogen and Sulphur, which are low in our soils.  It also releases moisture slowly into the soil, especially, if the ground is not frozen.  That adds to our aquifers, which is good for the long term.  The snow is even hiding the strawberry plants from the deer that had recently learned to paw through the floating row cover that was protecting them.   So we're quite pleased with the snow.

If this cool, wet weather continues through the spring, we could be looking at the opposite effect.  Too much rain pulls those highly-soluble nutrients down out of the root zone, or laterally into the creeks.  It keeps our cover crop from growing well and reduces the Nitrogen fixed by their companion soil bacteria.  And the wet soil keeps us from getting into the field with the tractor so our planting is late, and seeds rot.   

So right now is the best time for cold, wet weather.  Three cheers, and lets hope it doesn't overstay its welcome.   


Mon 2-8-2010 Snow at the Farm 015c


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