The winter weather this year has been variable. We had the warmest December (2017) on record. At nearly the end of February we are 20 inches below average on snowfall. Of course that doesn't mean we won't hit our average for the year. So far February is about 15 inches above normal with much of it falling in the last few days. We are above average on precipitation for the year so far. Much of that has been in the form of rain rather than snow. The snowfall is from the beginning of the season (October 2017). The precipitation is from the beginning of 2018.
There is about a 20 inch blanket on the garden as I write this entry. I actually wish there had been that much since the beginning of the season. The snow is beneficial. It keeps the frost from going too deeply in the ground. Since the frost doesn't get as deep the garden soil generally stays warmer. The bacteria and fungi that breaks down the organic matter into nutrients may keep working. This may require fewer soil amendments in the spring before planting. The most obvious effect of the blanket of white is the soil will thaw faster in the spring. After thawing the soil needs to warm so the seeds will germinate more quickly. The garden will also absorb more water the sooner the ground thaws. And most important, with a nice blanket of snow we should be able to plant sooner in the spring which could mean a more plentiful harvest.
By the end of February we will have more than 10 hours and 20 minutes from sunrise to sunset. We are gaining more than 5.5 minutes each day. Spring must indeed be right around the corner. Which corner is the big question every year.
The garden is a Memorial Garden, a garden of benevolence, garden of love. It is a gift to our community from the God of Love, Jesus the Christ. The first “seeds” for our garden have come from members of the congregation and a designation from the congregation’s memorial funds. These seeds have brought us to the beginning of a journey that will last for many years. Guided by the Holy Spirit we will plow forth until row upon row of our work is accomplished and our community is better nourished. The Lord invites you all to be part of His work on earth strengthening and feeding His children. The garden is made possible by generous donations from the community, a Domestic Hunger Grant from the ELCA World Hunger, generous support by the congregation of Lutheran Church of Hope, and support from the Alaska Synod of the ELCA.