Winter does a garden good: Many plants need cold weather to thrive in spring
Janice Leach | Contributor
Winter transforms the garden too. Snow and ice bring out textures and shadows we don’t normally see. Wintertime gives gardens and gardeners a much needed rest period, although we can keep pretty busy with planning and dreaming.
Vernalization is a physiological process in some plants where the flowers, or sometimes the seeds, must go through a prolonged period of cold in order to blossom or germinate in the spring. The amount of cold required by a plant is measured in chill hours. (If I read this chart correctly, we get about 1,400 chill hours annually in our area — brr!) In terms of species of fruit trees, apples have the highest chill requirements, followed by apricots and peaches. Nuts trees and berry bushes also have varying chilling requirements.
Jim Leach | Contributor
So what’s a little cold then, if it means we get to grow apples and peaches and berries? I’ll put on a sweater and settle in with my seed catalogs and garden plans and think about spring.