Yesterday I planted out some little seedlings of a very interesting variety of Chinese Cabbage. It's called "Scarvita F1". Its distinguishing feature is that unlike normal (green) Chinese Cabbage it is purple.
Since this is an F1 variety I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised to find that the seed-pack only contained 16 seeds, but it does mean that I need to use the seeds sparingly. I sowed 7 of them in individual 10cm pots of compost. They all germinated very quickly and I have been bringing them on inside my coldframe. This week I lifted enough of my onions to make room for planting the cabbages, which were beginning to outgrow the little pots.
When I tried growing Chinese Cabbage once before the slugs went mad for them and the whole lot was destroyed before I got any harvest, so this time I'm applying maximum protection. Also, I'm not planting them all in one go. I planted 5 and kept back 2 as spares, just in case...
This raised bed now contains a real mix of stuff! The last of the onions; a row of beetroot, a row of chicory, one solitary Iceberg lettuce, and now these 5 Chinese Cabbage. Actually there is also a little volunteer plant of Watercress in there too - you can see it beside one of the chicories in this next photo (bottom right).
I'm very conscious that after dark my garden becomes the domain of what I call the"night-time diggers" - foxes, badgers, cats etc - so I usually cover any young plants with something to protect them. Today I erected this contraption:
It's a piece of scrap Enviromesh, supported by wire hoops and held in place with some stones. It might work, but then again...
The long cloches seen in the photos serve the same purpose for the chicory plants. I take them off during the day because they would make the plants too hot.
My spare Chinese Cabbage plants got a change of scenery today too. I re-potted them into 15cm pots, to allow them to keep growing until they are either needed to replace casualties, or they get a space of their own - which will be when the last of the onions are lifted.
I'm saving the rest of the pack of seeds for next year!