Tuesday, June 5

It's mounting defences that takes the time

We managed another afternoon on the plot yesterday so more of our impatient plants managed to be settled into their new homes.

As we planted our brassicas - cabbage, red cabbage and sprouts - the wood pigeons looked on with glee. You could just imagine them planning their menu for the evening meal.

Well they could think again - we weren't going to spend time nurturing plants for them to end up on something else's 'plate'.

It didn't take us very long to plant out as we had an efficient production line going. Martyn released the plants from the modules and spaced them out whilst I followed him with the trowel. The plants were planted deeply and the soil was pressed down well around them as brassicas perform better when planted firmly.

The time consuming bit was then setting up the defences. If the pigeons don't manage to steal our cabbages then you can guarantee that the white butterflies will move in and their caterpillars will make short work of the plants as they eat and eat and eat! The large white butterfly lays clusters of eggs and so cabbages can soon almost disappear under the onslaught of the army of large white butterfly offspring. If you are interested there's a video on my website here showing the feeding machines in action! The white butterflies are already putting in an appearance as one was browsing our poached egg plants as we planted.
We cover our brassicas with butterfly protection netting. This way we protect against both potential attackers.
The netting doesn't provide any sort of protection against slugs though, I'm afraid for that we resort to slug pellets. A controversial choice but the pellets are under netting where no bird or small mammal can gain access and we do sprinkle only the tiniest amount and only until the plants get going.

One other brassica enemy on our plot is club root. Sprouts seem to be the most badly affected by this scourge even when a dressing of lime is applied. To compensate for this, last year we grew club root resistant varieties which seemed to work. Whether this was just a one off or not time will tell. This year, as well as growing club root resistant sprouts, we are growing a variety that came  free in a magazine so we will be able to compare the results.

Now other than a regular feed of seaweed and some weeding it's up to them to do their stuff and provide us with some tasty greens.

PS: If you are interested my May diary is now complete - there may be extra photos as well as a blow by blow account of our May gardening activities here on my website.

PPS: Don't miss the latest competition about garden flowers click here

19 comments:

  1. Oh No Club Root,,,, something else for me to worry about, at least I am learning about all these things before they happen and hopefully My sprout will stand a chance, off to the garden centre for lime.

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    1. You may not have club root in your soil Lorraine so don't worry too much. Don't add too much lime just a sprinkling.

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  2. Haven't seen any butterflies yet but I'm sure they won't be far away.

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    1. It was ironic that I saw one when we were planting brassicas Damo!

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  3. I have most of my brassicas similarly protected, though I must admit that my local pigeons don't really seem to go for such fare. The brassicas in pots are not protected by anything, yet the pigeons ignore them. For some curious reason they prefer the Philadelphus. Must be posh southern pigeons!

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    1. Maybe being on an allotment site with all the brassicas laid out in full view from a perch up on the telegraph wires is too tempting for ours, Mark

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  4. I quite agree: If you haven't got the nets in place - don't bother planting brassicas

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    1. Not where our wood pigeons are concerned, Mal and we also on top of that have a couple of people who keep racing pigeons.!

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  5. Your brassicas look well protected. Hope you get a big harvest! I've seen lots of white butterfly in my garden. I'm not growing cabbage this year but will try broccoli again (after getting mostly flowers last time).

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    1. We love our cabbage - red and green, Kelli - in summer we use a lot for coleslaw too. Remember summer do you?

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  6. My brassicas are still only little things after I had to resow because slugs got my first batch. Yours look nice healthy and strong specimens, I'm sure they'll romp away now they're in the ground.

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    1. Just hope that they stay strong and healthy Jo.

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  7. It's been a while since I blog. You have updated with a lot of activities! ;)

    Good idea for me to use on Pak Choy!

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  8. I remember that you have problem with pigeon each year.
    I am trying for the first time growing red cabbage this cool season.

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    1. Hop the red cabbage succeeds, Diana - we braise it as in the recipe on my website - see the recipe link at the top of the page.

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  9. I haven't got me brassicas in the ground yet...but when I di the defences will be going up!!

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    1. Maybe we just need a very large cage over our entire plots Tanya with very fine mesh that the insects can't penetrate but then we would need resident bees wouldn't we?

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  10. I've always fancied a bee hive though!!

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