Monday, September 28, 2015

Summer brassicas

For some years I tried planting broccoli and cauliflowers in summer. Each year they were a magnet for the moths and ended up an inedible scrawny collection of veins and sticks. It just wasn't worth the space in the garden.
Last year I decided to have another try and this time put a cage over the bed covered in bird netting. Some varieties of moths were still able to enter and one managed to lay a lot of eggs which became caterpillars but the cabbage whites stayed out and the caterpillars didn't seem to eat much. They were easy to wash out!
The plants were put in a little late in the season so the pak choi grew fast and went to seed. The broccoli and cauliflowers were great - particularly the broccoli as the more that was picked the more that grew to replace it. The caulis were fine but were a one-hit wonder.
This year I decided to get the plants in the ground early. The net needed a bit of darning and the cage design was improved with some more wood around the base. After weeding plenty of horse manure was mixed in and lime added and it was ready for planting. Once planted with seedlings it was mulched with partly rotted Lucerne suffused with droppings from the guinea pig cage.

A small green sprouting broccoli seedling

The self seeded pak choi (thinned from several hundred) inside the new improved brassica cage.
Hopefully the rabbits stay and moths stay out and the harvest is great.

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