Veggies recovering well from frostbite – Diary of a Rocket Gardener

Back when it was snowing across the UK, in December, it was just very very frosty in my vegetable garden. But, it was the most frosty it has ever been since I started growing veg here in 2015 and I was caught off guard. Whilst I had fleece covering the winter lettuces, most of the other plants remained uncovered and exposed to the elements. In the mornings, even the cavolo nero and brussels sprouts plants looked droopy, and they normally withstand frost just fine. I was fairly sure I’d lose a lot of plants, but a few weeks on and they are making a surprisingly good comeback.

My perpetual spinach has been particularly interesting to watch – in the cold weather, the leaves were really damaged, taking on a murky sheen and soon rotting away. But, the leaves at the centre remained healthy and green, and after a week or two of warmer weather, they’ve really bounced back well. It’s a similar story with the endives and tatsoi, all of which are doing well again now. I’m glad I didn’t give up on them – there was a moment when I thought I may as well pull them up and give what was left of the spinach to the chickens, but now I get to enjoy it for a few more weeks.

Meanwhile, in the greenhouse, the plants are doing brilliantly. I’m growing a few more lettuces, landcress, winter purslane, wild rocket and spring greens (or winter greens – I can’t tell and I forgot to label them) – I’m really thinking it is well worth growing winter crops in a greenhouse if you have one, or making a mini polytunnel. There’s such a big difference in how healthy they are looking being a little more protected from the weather, and also significantly less slug damage. I may actually try and expand my greenhouse to accommodate a few extra winter veggies next time and simply mulch the outside beds heavily. It’s nice to harvest the crops in the shelter of the greenhouse – not so windy, not so wet, and not so chilly! Perhaps that will be my big 2023 project. We’ll see.