a harsh separation

The first cabbage plants were sown back in November and had a relatively easy winter huddled together in trays under heated glass. A fortnight ago they were brought outside to harden off for a few days before being separated from their brethren and fed into a planter before finding themselves standing alone, exposed to the full force of a dry, chilling easterly wind. In a garden I would wait for warmer weather, but the soil is wonderfully dry for the time of year, allowing the machinery to work perfectly, and we cannot afford to miss the opportunity. We cover them with a fleece crop cover as soon as possible but it is still a harsh introduction to independent living.

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record, it has been the coldest winter I have known as a grower. As testimony I haven