Blizzard 2016 and its Effects on the Ozone Garden

Last Friday evening, it started to snow here in Philadelphia, and did not stop snowing until Sunday morning. Throughout the blizzard, there were winds blowing at around 35 miles per hour in Philadelphia. In total, the storm left 22.4 inches of snow (or about 57 cm), making this snow storm the fourth largest in the city on record! Both the city and the state of Pennsylvania were placed in a state of emergency. Even after the storm had passed, public schools were closed for two days, and much of Philadelphia’s public transportation was not running.

Snow still covered much of the garden when we took pictures on Tuesday and Wednesday. However, above freezing temperatures earlier in the week caused some of the snow to melt away, leaving areas of the garden bare.


While the storm temporarily shut down the city, snow can be surprisingly beneficial to a garden. Last week, we wrote about how frozen soil was killing our plants, but snow can prevent the temperature of the soil from changing, when it would otherwise freeze and thaw, by acting as an insulator. For this reason, some gardeners will try to spread snow over their beds when possible. When the snow covers the ground, it also prevents the soil from losing moisture and adds additional moisture as the snow melts. However, the large amount of snow we got in Philadelphia could harm the plants if the snow melts quickly and the garden becomes flooded. Either lack of water or overwatering kills plants. While the snow can protect the soil from becoming too dry, having snow that is over twenty inches thick is probably too much.

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