Gardening Magazine

Raising the Roof

By Mwillis
I've been planning ahead again Folks. Knowing that before long my Brussels Sprouts and PSB plants will get very tall, I have spent some time adjusting the rod-and-net structures over my raised beds. This was prompted by a definite sighting of a Small White butterfly ovipositing (that's laying eggs to you and me!) on my previously unprotected Kale.
The Kale is now protected, as are the PSB plants - currently only about 12 inches tall, but growing rapidly.

Raising the roof

Kale at the 4 corners, PSB down the middle


Using my kit of aluminum rods and plastic connectors I have constructed a cage that is about 4 feet tall. The only trouble is, with my new-style raised beds being 20cm taller than their predecessors, the nets don't quite reach to the ground all the way round, so I have had to use some ingenuity...
Raising the roof

While I was in the mood, I raised the height of the Cabbage / Brussels Sprouts bed's cage too:
Raising the roof

After pushing the vertical rods into the soil a few inches, the height of that cage is probably about 5 feet - certainly a few inches taller than the one over the PSB. I had to use some of the rods that had been in use elsewhere, and shuffle them all around to get what I wanted. It turned out to be a bigger job than I had expected!
In the foreground of the photo above you can see that with all the re-arrangement ("Robbing Peter to pay Paul") I have been left with only a rather rudimentary structure over the salads. I haven't got enough rods to make sides for this one. Still it's not too much of a problem, because this net is only to deter the "diggers", and doesn't need to keep out butterflies. Each year I get a few more rods and connectors (I often ask for them as Birthday and Christmas presents), so maybe one day I'll have enough...
I haven't actually seen more than the odd one or two butterflies of any sort this year, but if the Cabbage Whites decide to descend on my garden, at least my Brassicas are now all under cover.
In view of the fact that I actually saw a butterfly laying eggs on the Kale, I shall assume that there are eggs on the nearby PSB as well, so as soon as I get the opportunity I'll check them thoroughly and squish any eggs I find.

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