Brassica shields

            It’s about time to start brassica seedlings indoors (in zone 6 anyway), because 5-6 weeks inside and they’ll be ready to set out,  then 60-70 days to maturity. That puts me at the June farmers’ market with a nice harvest.

            But FIRST: You know those little white butterflies you see dancing around your brassicas in late spring and early summer? They’re dancing because they know their green, offspring larvae are going to be well fed – destroying your crop in the process.

            I mention this first, because the braccicas are generally so easy to grow, and so tasty, and so good for your body, that I’m not in favor of anything that stands in their way. Various organic sprays are effective against this +[&*@% worm, but I’ve found that no matter how hard you keep up with it, hand-picking or spraying, by midsummer hundreds of tiny “wormlets” have dug inside your broccoli heads, and the only way to get them out is to break the heads into florets, soak these in salt water (to kill them), and swish them rapidly in the water to knock them out.

            Much as I hate the look of floating row covers, this is one case in which I wouldn’t be without them for physical protection.

            More on growing tips shortly, but in the meantime you might be looking for lightweight row covers. Try Craigslist and Ebay, then go to Google unless you have a favorite source already. Remember, this isn’t for frost protection, it’s for *7%]+:@ protection. Lightweight is fine.

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About lifegrower

Peter V. Fossel has been gardening since he was nine, and has been an organic farmer for the last 20 years. His most recent book, “Organic Farming, Everything You Need to know” was published by Voyageur Press, Minneapolis, 2007. He’s written numerous gardening articles for Organic Gardening, Horticulture, Country Journal, Out Here, and American Profile among others. He was Gardens Manager for The Hermitage, home of President Andrew Jackson in Tennessee before returning to Cape Cod to start his newest organic venture, Swan River Farm in Dennisport, MA.
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