Last weekend I decided that the fleece coverings had become too scrappy to be tolerable, and had to be replaced. Actually, I had bought some new fleece just after Christmas, but hadn't got round to using it.
Removing the existing fleece gave me a few moments of (perhaps over-optimistic) excited anticipation. You can vaguely make out the outline of the plants through the fleece, but you can't see anything in detail. So off come the covers, and what do I find? Well, a few bits of rather tired salad (lettuce and endive); a couple of plants of quite respectable-looking Land Cress; and seven very bedraggled cabbages!
|The Land Cress is fine - but there's not much of it|
|This chicory looks great in close-up, but is actually quite small|
|The red chicories are still growing slowly, but look healthy enough|
|The "Tundra" cabbages tried hard, but the foxes tried harder|
Well, you can't expect prize-winners every time, can you? The only thing to do was to harvest anything harvestable, and get on with the job of protecting anything worth keeping.
My assessment of the cabbages was that they were never going to make it to maturity, so I dug them all up and salvaged a few leaves, which got used a couple of days ago in a mixed vegetable soup.
I also picked all the useable lettuce and Land Cress. It was not much, because there are only two plants of cress. You probably remember that they are left over from a salad medley that I grew in that bed during the Summer. Anyway, the cress made a nice garnish for some pepperoni pizzas.
All the plants that were "past it", like the few remaining "Fristina" lettuces, were removed, leaving the beds looking pretty bare. You won't really be able to see them in the next couple of photos, but there are a lot of tiny red chicory plants in both the raised beds. These are ones that were spare after the planting of my main crop. I planted them out round about Christmas time. Having spent a very long time in a seed-tray they are probably not going to do particularly well, but I thought it better to stick them in the ground as space became available, rather than consign them to the compost bin. With a bit of protection from my new fleece they may perhaps go on to produce something worth having.
So here we go again - both beds covered with pristine white fleece once more.
I thought it would probably survive little more than 12 hours if the foxes got to hear about it! However, posting this article nearly a week later, I'm pleased to report that the fleece is still intact.