Not White Rain but Snow with a Capital S

Yesterday I mowed our lawn for the very first time this year. After building numerous garden beds, I have very little lawn left and it would be better environmentally if I had none at all, but I still like a few patches of green.

Our little electric mower sprang to life after a winter in the shed, without so much as a hiccup. When that first waft of fresh cut grass hit me, I almost teared up. I paused and breathed in the scent like a person hovering their nose over a caramel cappuccino. 

That was yesterday.

This morning we woke up to this…

This is NOT white rain. I repeat, NOT white rain. What a difference a day makes. Just to the left of the first plant pot is where I stood breathing in the scent of freshly cut grass less than 24 hours ago.

There is another way to look at it though. As disconcerting as the sight might be, for gardeners it is like someone gifted their yard with a huge dump of free organic nitrogen in the night, just in time for the growing season. How magical is that?

All moisture collects nitrogen as it falls through the atmosphere, but nothing gifts the earth as much as snow on thawed ground. Winter snow tends to run off the frozen earth come spring, taking its nitrogen with it. Light rain collects negligible amounts of nitrogen. Heavy rain, on the other hand, can pick up as much nitrogen as snow, but will usually come down so hard it runs off before any amount has a chance to sink in. An early fall or late spring snow is the best gift of all for growers.

Lightening also packs a load of nitrogen, but has to actually hit your garden in order to deposit it. You might get some nitrogen, but a soft covering of snow is a far less traumatic way to receive some free nutrients.

I admit when I pulled up the blinds this morning my first reaction wasn’t, “Wow! Free nitrogen. Thank you Universe!” and I did feel a tad traumatized. However, once I calmed down, I realized it couldn’t have come at a better time. Next week we are moving consistently into the double digits and out of the freezing zone at nights. Thanks to this snowfall, the garden will be primed and ready for seeding.

So yes, thank you Universe for your timely gift and please accept my sincere apologies for the things I might have said to you this morning.

Peas are going into the ground next week. Can’t wait to get seeding.