Burnett: Winter means one thing: Start planning for spring

So, now that we are into winter and predictably not true gardening weather, we can relax with some good gardening books and dream of spring.

Get your warm woolens out; winter is here.

After that beautiful fall weather, it was a bit of a shock to the system to have this chilly stuff. But don’t forget this is Canada folks, and we should expect some of this.

I took some time to look back at the weather records I have on file to see just what November has given us historically as far as low temperatures go. I have the records dating back to 1899 which I received when we had a weather station at our nursery on Ethel Street. Although we only had the station for about five years in the 1990s I was given a binder of the records previously kept at other stations including the one at Okanagan College.

In November, 1899, the temperature got down to minus 22C.

There were a few years— 1940, ’45 and ’46—when it dipped to minus 13C.

In 1955 it got down to minus 20C and in ’59 to minus 18C.

After that, for a number of years our Novembers were just average with temperatures dropping to no colder than minus 10C, but in 1985 it dropped down to minus 26C and did the same in 1998.

So these temperatures we have just experienced are not really extraordinary, in fact from what I’ve seen they are about normal for this time of year when you look at the past 100 years.

What was extraordinary was the weather we had prior to this as we were enjoying temperatures in the high teens when the norm would have been quite a bit lower. In fact we usually get at least a few frosty evenings before

November hits and we didn’t see any until quite recently.

Before the frost hit I took time to harvest all my semi-ripe and green tomatoes which are now in trays in my kitchen. I did this last year and we were still eating tomatoes in December which I’m sure we will do the same this year.

I also disconnected the two garden hoses I have from the self-draining taps so they can do what they are designed to do, otherwise water trapped in them would freeze causing big problems.

And I made certain I have at least one hose that has no water in it just in case I need one for any reason when it is freezing outside.

So, now that we are into winter and predictably not true gardening weather, we can relax with some good gardening books and dream of spring. It will come soon enough so you can start planning your activities.

Take some time to write down all your successes and failures this past year so you can use these notes for guidance next season. Organize and store away your garden seeds in sealed containers so they will be ready for planting in spring.

Lastly make sure you take advantage of the final yard waste pickups as I believe they will stop at the end of November.

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