This year I am attempting to grow red brussel sprouts. Again. Last year’s, (Marhsall’s Red Bull) turned out to be green, and were clearly wrongly labelled. This year I tried again (Rubine from Unwins) and so far so good; they are red!
I sowed them towards the end of March and pricked them out about a month ago. Now they are ready to plant in the garden ……. but I know that this is fraught with dangers for these tasty young plants. Voracious slugs lie in wait to graze them to the ground and cabbage white butterflies will be attracted to lay the eggs of their very hungry caterpillars on my precious plants!
Last year we tried quater inch mesh to keep butterflies off our brassicas, but this was not wholly successful as some of them managed to squeeze themselves through the holes. The picture below on the left shows one lot of protection which was doubly unsuccessful as quite a lot of the leaf grew up to touch the leaves and was thus easily accessible to the butterflies.
But even the brussels in the picture on the right suffered from caterpillar damage as the butterflies simply squeezed through the holes. Almost as if to spite me they then seemed to become trapped inside the netting.
This is our first attempt this year to keep butterflies off, and they certainly won’t creep through these holes.
However, although we are sure that this will keep the butterflies off we are also worried that it will keep the sun off, it really is quite shady inside the netting.
So ….. we may need to go back to the drawing board. However, we are hoping that the copper ring will be enough to keep the slugs at bay ….. If anyone has any advice for keeping butterflies off our cabbages I would love to hear from you.