Life on Pig Row: The cold heart of winter

FEBRUARY IS the cold heart of winter – we often think of the worst part of winter as being January but all gardeners know that this month throws up the worst of the weather.

February will chuck rain, snow and gales at our plots; pots will go flying, glass in greenhouses could shatter and if your plot is low-lying the chance of flooding could be on the cards.

Flooding has been a concern for many allotment holders and gardeners in Saddleworth over 2012. Nothing can be done to address this as allotments and houses naturally gravitate to valleys where there is rich soil and building is easy.

It would be wonderful if we could somehow protect our plants against flooding. There are gardens that work with flooding, from bog gardens to raised growing tables and gardens on sheds and flat roofs.

I am not saying that we should all go out and plant up our roofs, though I think green roofs may be a way forward in modern garden growing.

I believe we have to consider where we site our plots. An allotment or house beside a river will flood at some point. It is important that we work with this, doing what is best for gardens and plots, and working with the very thing we always fail to tame: nature.

If your garden is prone to flooding and you know to what point the flood line reaches in the worst years, there is no point in planting that part of the garden with anything that won’t stand up to it. You may want to consider annuals or trees.

It is a case of working with nature and that is the essence of gardening. You should never try to tame nature but sometimes you can bend the rules, now and again.

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