Brassica update

Well my caterpillar squidging, disgusting though it was at the time, seems to have done the trick – although our brassicas are still being attacked a bit by slugs, the wholesale onslaught launched by caterpillars was stopped by my return attack and now it’s probably too late in the season for a further massacre, although I did notice one lorn Cabbage White fluttering around the plot when I was up there yesterday.

Things we’ve learned from this:

1. Netting brassicas is vital if you want to keep your crop alive and that netting has to be tall enough to allow the brassicas to grow at least until mid September. Ours was a bit too low and had to be taken off about ten days to a fortnight early. It also needs to be far enough away so that the brassicas can’t grow out to it sideways or up to it vertically because if they do the pesky butterflies will still manage to find the tiny section pressing against the net to lay eggs on.
2. There is no effective organic caterpillar treatment apart from slaughtering by hand – Derris dust is apparently no longer on the market (although you seem to be able to buy it online?) and other alternatives are not organic.
3. It’s heartbreaking to nearly lose a well-established crop, much worse even than having seedlings eaten by slugs or pulled up by birds.

The picture shows unnetted and netted brassicas next to each other. Although the ones that were netted have been nibbled by slugs, they aren’t showing anything like the damage done by the caterpillars on their unnetted neighbours.

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Tuesday, September 22, 2009

3 Comments:

Blogger Jo said...

My brassicas were netted and they still looked worse than your unnetted ones. I didn't get any caterpillars, but the slugs still got to them.

September 23, 2009 at 5:39 AM  
Blogger Tanya Walton said...

I had major caterpillar problems last year and even with the kids help of removing them my crop was still slaughtered so this year I spent the money on hoops and netting...it was worth every penny!!

September 23, 2009 at 11:25 AM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

I think we've learned the netting lesson Tanya - but I sympathise with Jo, we still can't stop our brassicas being devoured by slugs!

September 28, 2009 at 9:23 AM  

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