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The Poor Man’s Fertilizer

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When I was small, I heard that it was good when it snowed because it was called a “poor man’s fertilizer”. The person that told me was an old farmer, so I never questioned the saying. Is there truth behind the saying?

 Aside from water, nitrogen is the only element that snow puts back into the Earth. However, lightning and rain actually emit a greater proportion of nitrogen than snow. What probably makes snow good for the soil is that it feeds nitrogen into the soil at a slower and more even rate (through melting) than a thunderstorm, which delivers precipitation at a more rapid rate.

So, my friend was right and maybe he knew that all along.

The folks at Farmers’ Almanac Television have a unique way of covering stories. Have you had an opportunity to watch the video (on our home page) about Punxsutawney Phil and the activities surrounding  Groundhog Day??  It is must see TV.

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1 comment

1 Arthur Welser, Cornell Ag "74" { 08.22.08 at 11:00 am }

“poor man’s Fertilizer

I was asked about this recently and cannot document what I had been lead to believe, that a late snow doesn’t add fertilizer to the crop, instead, it breaks dormancy again causing additional shoots to emerge from the crown of plants that had previously broken dormancy.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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