Friday, August 3

Through a hedge backwards? Not quite

The description of looking as though she has been pulled through a hedge backwards could have been applied to me yesterday. It would also have been a fairly literal comment to make although a hedge wasn't the cause of my new casual look - no I haven't a photo!

The brassica bed had worked it's way up to the top of the list of areas to be weeded. The problem was that there seemed to be quite a few large white butterfies fluttering around no doubt making the most of the brief spell of warm sunny weather. They looked intent on seeking out prospective nurseries for their young. Our brassicas relieved of their protective netting would have been prime targets. After protecting the young plants from pigeons and butterflies alike since planting them out I wasn't going to offer them up to the butterflies now and so there was only one thing for it - lift up the edge of the netting and crawl as far under it as possible! Hence the look - it was more having dragged myself backwards from under netting.

The ground in which the brassicasa were planted besides being covered in weeds - mainly chickweed - was rock hard. This time not baked by sunshine but rather, no doubt, as a result of being battered by heavy rain. As brassicas enjoy firm ground I hope they will be OK but it was just about impossible to pull out the weeds by the roots. I had to compromise and just pull as much top growth out as possible - even then I managed to pull back my nails almost to the nailbed. Hope they re-attach themselves soon. Don't we suffer in the name of gardening?

In the brassica bed that received attention we have green - Kilaton - and red - Huzaro - cabbage  ...
... cauliflowers  - Clapton...
... and sprouts. Some good ones - Crispus ...
... and some bad ones - Evesham Special.
The sprouts were planted at the same time side by side so what is it that has meant one lot is fine and the other lot is in no way fine?
The Evesham Special seeds were freebies but Crispus, our chosen variety is club-root resistant. Due to club-root we have had trouble growing sprouts in the past and last year found and decided to try Crispus. This variety provided us with a successful crop in spite of the dry conditions. As they were free, we planted some Evesham Special as an experiment really to see  how Crispus compared and the results have confirmed that we need to stick to club-root resistant brassicas wherever possible - especially sprouts and cauliflowers that seem to suffer the effects of club-root most.

In my weeding frenzy, I accidentally pulled up one of the Evesham Special plants and the roots were stunted.

The chickweed carpet had provided a safe haven for slugs so the brassicas had come under attack from those too - it's one pest that the netting doesn't keep out. I'm afraid I had to resort to a light sprinkling of slug pellets but not before I moved a tiny newt into a safer slug pellet free place.


  1. I would have paid good money to see you crawl under the net. It did make me giggle. That is one of the benefits of having a small garden I suppose. I shall keep that thought with me as I plant my 5 or 6 each of my brassica collection.

    1. To make you giggle even more awpol I was only half submerged under the netting so my rear end was pointing skywards.

  2. That is a very convincing demonstration of the merits of clubroot-resistant varieties! I have had to put the net back over my brassicas, not to deter butterflies, but foxes. They dug up my newly-planted Cavolo Nero two nights in a row!

    1. I certainly confirmed our suspicions Mark. I pulled another couple of sprout plants up today and they also had deformed roots. The space was filled by clubroot resistant cauliflowers.

      We have a fox that digs about on the plot but so far it hasn't really caused any damage but there is more space for it to 'go at'. Do you use chicken manure pellets or bonemeal as a fertiliser? This would probably attract a fox who would then try and dig to fnd the source of the smell.

  3. Thats all looking very nice.. I am please with mine as well although nowhere near as manny plants as you have space for. If I get home grown sprouts for christmas lunch I will be delighted..

    1. You just grow what you can for the area you have Lorraine - sometimes having fewer means the plants are better looked after. I bet your's were kept better weeded than ours!

  4. Those brassicas are fantastic...mine never look like this...want to give me some tips for next year?

  5. We start ours in pots Tanya and plant them out into soil that if possible hasn't recently been dug 0 they like firm ground. The plants are pplanted deeply up to the first set of leaves and the plants firmed in hard. IF it is dry we fill the planting hole with water first.

    Then we feed with a liquid fertiliser. We've growm club root resistant varieties too

  6. Great looking brassica's!


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