• Alison Murray

Things to do in the garden during lockdown day 30: protect brassicas from pests

My cabbages and cauliflowers are ready to plant out. Taking a few measures now to ward off pests now will ensure I get to eat the produce before the wildlife get to it.

Brassicas do brilliantly in the British climate, but are super delicious to a whole range of pests:

  • Cabbage root fly - these chaps lay their eggs around the base of the plant the the larvae much through the roots. A collar of weed suppressant membrane or just some cotton fabric around the stems, should keep them at bay.

  • Pigeons - netting is crucial to keep your crop from being pecked to death, birds will even pull out the seedling - pure malice!

  • Caterpillars - cabbage white butterflies are the main culprits. There are two types, large and small and also the cabbage moth. These guys can sniff your crop out from afar. Net really carefully so there are no gaps to keep these guys at bay or they will lay their eggs on the plants and the caterpillars will munch their way through the lot.

  • Whitefly - global warming means that pests like whitefly are not being killed off by the cold over winter, a fine-holed mesh like Veggiemesh is about the only thing that will keep the white fly off.

netting brassicas
collaring brassicas
A collared cabbage

I've planted cabbage 'Earliest of All' and Cauli 'Snowball'. The Brussels 'Red Ball' need more space so they are in the taller netting. Kale will go in later, but it is still too small. I'll probably pop some pak choi in between which will be harvested before the brassicas get too big.

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