A slap in the face from Nature?

by Laura Gray on March 26, 2014

We have had no winter this year, and at the beginning of March it seemed as if we had truly skipped a season and fast-forwarded to Spring. Our duvet was off the bed and happy tourists were baring legs much to the consternation of the locals. I wrote here about our late pruning and concerns regarding the appearance of mushrooms, mimosa and blossom out of season. Now it seems the cold snap we so feared is upon us. It's a chill wind... On Sunday 26th March temperatures dropped a total of 15° (30°F); this morning it was 2°C (35 F°). Monte Amiata is powdered with snow. On Monday part of the Siena/Florence motorway was closed due to hail. Luckily the drop in temperatures has interrupted the vegetative growth of the vines. This delay is positive since budbreak was rather early this year. Above all it is safer for the vines to be in this state of suspended animation if Easter week, with the full moon, brings a freeze.In this scenario it will probably be curtains for the fruit crop since all our trees (cherry, apricot, peach, pears and plums) are in full bloom. Should this be the case, my thoughts will be with the fruit farmers of Italy, but my own heart is considerably relieved at the thought of Less Jam in 2014.

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