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07/08/2013 at 13:59

Sorry if this has been covered elsewhere - and also sorry if a half finished version of this ends up on the forum - it disappeared from sight halfway through writing and I can't find it anywhere!

New veggie patch this year and everything is doing so well - can hardly keep up with the produce - what a year!

On 16 May I sowed broccoli and sprout seeds - both varieties were potted on twice before planting out on 11 July.  5 weeks on, while the sprouts are making 'steady' progress, they are dwarfed by the broccoli which is now 2ft tall. I'll have to stake them soon. They're Suttons seeds and not a named variety.Twice the size of Monty's, they are ..... that's a first!    

Anyone else out noticed the same?  Will the plants outgrow themselves and not have enough oomph to get through winter?  Is it just down to this wonderful summer ..... which has also resulted in a hell of a job trying to keep the cabbage whites out - 2 layers of netting is no deterrent at all!  

All responses gratefully received. 

07/08/2013 at 19:21

Hi Sue,  I reckon it's the great weather - all of my brassicas have grown brilliantly this year - have cabbages with solid hearts almost the size of footballs when they normally only get to about 6 inch diameter!  Growth will start slowing now and I'm sure you will get a wonderful harvest of purple-sprouting broc next Spring, but do stake them if necessary as wind-rock can damage the roots.  I can help with the netting - you need to use netting with a maximum of 7mm hole size - any larger and the butterflies can (and will!) squeeze through;  Google "Butterfly netting".  No caterpillars on mine this year thanks to that but dozens of butterflies every day and they have been trying to get in for weeks!  Oh, and watch out for wood pigeons over the Winter - they will destroy unprotected brassicas in very short order - they eat half my crop in one day last year as the netting supports broke so it was lying on the plants and they just pecked through the holes in the netting..

08/08/2013 at 13:09

Thanks Bob

I needed netting which would allow pollinators in as there were strawberries in the same bed, but now they're finished and due to be moved so, after a thorough underleaf search of the brassicas, I can tighten up my defences against the pigeons which sit in the apple trees ... drooling.  Looking forward to next spring's harvest - I rather fancy pigeon pie with broccoli  

I also strategically placed a tray of left over 'sacrificial' brassicas which seem to have attracted some (at least) of the butterflies attention!  

 

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