Thursday 16 February 2012

Searching for salad survivors

After a couple of weeks of really cold weather, and some snow, the thermometer has moved sluggishly into positive territory. The snow in our part of the world has all melted now, so I have made the rounds of my veg plot to see what survived and what didn't.

No problems with the brassicas - they will survive much worse - but the salads were my chief concern. This Winter I have had many of them under the protection of cloches, including some lettuces. I have never attempted to grow lettuce in the Winter before, but the combination of choosing hardy varieties (I have Winter Density and All Year Round) and the cloches means that I have a viable crop. And the best thing is that it is available now, at a time when my raised beds would otherwise be pretty bare. These two were spares left over when I planted-up the long cloches, but to be honest they are the best of the bunch now. I think it is because they have had plenty of room.

This is where they live:

One cloche temporarily removed - for photography purposes

They aren't fully mature yet - they have grown very slowly (which is hardly surprising), but they are certainly useable already. Their siblings under the long cloches are OK too, though a bit smaller.

Elsewhere I have some Endives, some protected by individual cloches, some not. The next two photos demonstrate the beneficial effect of the cloche. In the first one you can see two plants growing very close together.

The one on the left is very ragged, but the one protected by the cloche is in much better condition.

This broad-leaved Endive is definitely beyond redemption:

This variegated Chicory is marginal. It might recover, but I somehow doubt it.

Whereas these two beauties were snuggled-up together under a single cloche keeping each other warm, such that they have not only survived, but also thrived.

Unfortunately for them thriving sometimes just hastens their demise!

At least this one has had a happy life!

My little patch of Land Cress is looking happy enough too. It fits conveniently under one of the bigger individual cloches, so it's well protected.

So all in all, things could have been a lot worse. And if I hadn't previously been convinced of the merits of cloches I certainly am now.


  1. Amazing that only after a few days of that snow and cold, the vegetables bounce back and give us some more of their bounty.

  2. This post certainly proves the merits of cloches.

  3. I still have a few salad leaves in the greenhouse but that is all. Lettuce can be surprisingly hardy

  4. I loved the idea of the two snuggled under the same cloche together, but then tragedy struck...maybe it might not have been so cruel if they'd been picked together? I know I'm a big softy :(
    Oh well, such is life.

  5. Lettuce's look quite delicate but they really are quite tough aren't they. I am growing and eating more and more of them.

  6. I'm very jealous. I had no idea lettuces were so hard, I've always thought of them as a bit wimpish! Also, I've awarded you the Liebster blog award.

  7. Great photos Mark and what a success with the lettuce varieties. My experience is, most lettuce like cooler weather, and do not like the summer heat. Cloches make all the difference extending the season and new news..I have only this week found cloches like yours in our local shop. Yeah!!

  8. What a great collection of lettuces you have here! I am impressed by those Cloches. I wander if they sell it here, in US. After the snow we had this week melted, I recovered some carrots. I lost some of my tomato seedlings in the greenhouse though...

  9. An Ode to the Cloche if ever there was one! How satisfying to be able to pick lovely looking salad in February.

  10. Very interesting - what was your low temp/duration?

  11. David, we had (most recently) a spell of about a week in which the temperature barely climbed above zero during the day, and went down as low as -10C at night.


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