The Garden

Salt Spring Island, BC, Canada

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  • Jane Squier

So much snow! What happened to our Mediterranean Climate!


Up until 2 weeks ago we were having a very mild winter, the crocuses and snowdrops were flowering and I, with many others, thought we were going to waltz into spring's abundance unhindered by the traditional Canadian freezes. Hah!

All of a sudden night temperatures dropped to -7 C and a week later the snow arrived, fast and furious. From lush green lawns to a 30" blanket of snow.

I take snow really seriously because I have a gutter connected greenhouse which traps snow, and because I live in an area notorious for big dumps of snow followed by deluges of rain. A very heavy combination.

In 1996 most of the commercial greenhouses on Vancouver Island and the lower mainland collapsed after 25" of snow fell in less than 24 hours followed by rain. We managed to keep ours safe by spending 4 hours in the middle of the night pushing snow off. But we were dangerously close to losing it too. At one point I slipped and fell against the poly and the whole structure swayed precariously.

When the snow comes, I'm on high alert. This time, because we are expecting day after day of snow, and rain on Thursday, I want to keep the roof clean. So up we go, every day.

Here's a photo of my neighbour Dina helping me in the early morning while the snow is still light.

My greenhouse has three bays, two gutters. When cleaning the roof, snow on the outside bays is pushed over the edge the length of the greenhouse. Snow on the center bay is pulled into the gutter and then pushed all the way out to the end walls.

This is how much snow we've pushed off of the center bay in the last few days, the pile goes right up to the gutter at 10'. Big snow! Big muscles!

We had to shovel away the snow to get into the greenhouse.

And inside the greenhouse, cold and calm, the fruit continues to ripen and thrive.

Today I picked some Kiyomi Tangor. It's a cross between Trovita orange and Satsuma mandarin. A refreshing and intense flavour.

What joy!


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