Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Broccoli - mid October update




The broccoli plants are worth an update at this point. You can see from the picture above that the plants are indeed surviving, and in some cases thriving, although some not without being a little battle worn. 
Just a quick recap if you missed the previous posts. They were planted in a
 no-dig bed, where onions were growing during the Summer and harvested in early September, the area was cleared and cleaned and built up with some good compost. Plants were planted and well watered, and growing their since.
As my twitter friends well know, I have been out every 2-3 nights conducting a slug hunt, and in fairness to them (the slugs), they have decided not to go toe to toe with me on this one. No, I found only a couple of rogues who have been removed to a different place. My beer trap remained almost untouched too and the organic slug pellets dissolved.


Instead, the main culprit has been caterpillars. Yes, all the cute little months and butterflies have to come from somewhere, and I've been trying to ensure not from my broccoli!
Now I do remember hearing from the organic side of things (either Pippa Greenwood or Geoff Hamilton) saying that if you want 10 plants growing, sow 20; well for me, I want between 8-10 plants (and planted this amount) but if only 6-8 are in production, well that's okay.
Despite regularly 'rubbing out' eggs (unfortunately iPhone camera isn't good enough for egg pics) a number survive, and the resultant hatching caterpillars munch voraciously on the leaves. The eggs are generally pin head in size and a shade of mellow yellow, deposited on the undersides of leaves.
So, as long as the weather stays someway mild, I will have to continue to be vigilant minding the plants.
What I didn't do two weeks ago, although I said I would, was to put up some wind break. You may know from damaged caused by wind and discussed in previous posts, that plants can suffer, so no point in tempting fate. 

This weekend, this is a must.

Although it us late, if you haven't planted any broccoli plants yet, they may still be available in your local garden centre. Even 2-3 in a reasonable size tub with good compost will provide plenty of shoots in the Spring.

Can't wait to taste!

Happy gardening.