Brassica bed

I’ve had a question about the row covers and plastic cups in the brassica bed, so thought I’d explain it more clearly in a quick post.  I cut the bottom of a plastic cup and tuck it over the seedling.  This is a slug prevention strategy.  Slugs love my garden, and call all their friends and relatives when new seedlings go out.  The cup adds a barrier the slug has to ooze over before reaching my tender seedling.  I put the cup in the ground with the smooth rolled rim in the soil, leaving the jagged cut edge for the slug to traverse before reaching the seedling.  It may be overkill but I also use a sprinkling of diatomaceous earth and some non-toxic slug bait.  The tops of milk jugs also work to protect seedlings from slugs, and act as tiny little hot houses in addition.

The row covers are held on with 3/4″ pvc pipe slipped over rebar lengths inserted into the soil.  In theory, floating row cover can just lay atop the seedlings as they grow — except for tomatoes and peppers which don’t like it.  What I discovered to my great dismay last year was this enables the slugs to go to town eating the developing  florets of the broccoli and cauliflower.  As I already had the pvc and rebar for small hoop houses and the snowdome for the hen’s winter range, I decided to use it to make larger hoops for the row cover to keep the slugs from traveling across the row cover to the broccoli.  I primarily use the row cover to prevent the evil cabbage moth and cabbage looper from laying eggs in my cole crops — it is highly effective at that.  You can see images of how I set up the hoops here.  I also feel that the hoops look tidier than the fabric just laying on the plants.  I’d rather see gorgeous plants, but don’t want to have to use pesticides.

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3 Responses to “Brassica bed”

  1. Sara Says:

    I used row cover last year for the first time (on brassicas too) and I was so amazed and happy with the results (no more hunting for worms in my broccoli, yay). It is hard not to see the plants every day, but it’s kind of like christmas opening up the hoop to see them, ha. I ordered a bigger roll for this year.

    I think I may be having slug problems too this year. I haven’t seen them, but something small or nocturnal is hitting my peas and beets, guess I might have to cover those too. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Angela Moll Says:

    Those small hoophouses are really great. I use them all the time during winter and part of spring. In the summer it is too hot here for even the thinnest insect cover, precisely when the are more insect pests out there. Oh, well, and infested plants is better than a fried plant…

    • Ali Says:

      Angela, I saw a post somewhere of a hot-climate gardener using tulle or netting from fabric stores successfully. It is very airy and she chose a white color thinking it would further reflect light/heat. She said it worked great. I was thinking it would be nice as it is not very noticeable and you can readily see the gorgeous plants through it.

      If I find the post again I will link to it — just can’t remember where I saw it but it was when studying for my Master Gardener program.

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