Tuesday 12 May 2020

Lockdown Day 50 - Late frosts

Looking at the forecast last night, I thought that we would escape the frost that was expected in some parts of the country. 3 deg C is just warm enough to escape it, or so I thought. I did protect the Meyer Lemon tree with plastic and earthed up the potatoes to some extent just in case.

However, this morning I discovered the tell-tale scorch marks of frost on many of the potato leaves and a couple of the borlotti beans seemed rather droopy. Now, when we have had a late frost in the past, the potatoes have recovered soon enough but I am a bit worried that these two bean plants might not make it - two others, slightly taller, seemed to be ok! They are now protected by plastic sheeting.

I have earthed up the potatoes even more as two more nights with low temperatures are expected, looking at the app on my phone the worst night is likely to be Wednesday night into Thursday.

The strawberries are doing well at the moment and I think that with them being along the edge of the allotment with a fence and hedge behind them they should be ok as they are fairly hardy, the peas are early ones (Feltham First I think) and so they should stand a bit of cold.

I have not known such a late frost here, although we have had frosts in early May before now. The reason for this is a break up in the Polar Vortex which is a low pressure area near Earth's poles - disturbances in this can send cold air southwards which is what we, and indeed the north-eastern United States where they have had late snow, are experiencing. Climate change seems to be a factor in the shifts in these pressure systems and the jet stream high altitude winds that bring our weather systems. One particular weather event may not be able to be linked to climate change but trends can be. 

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