Top tips for growing autumn brassicas

Kale, Broccoli, Turnips and a few others are all brassicas that you can plant now for autumn and winter. They love the cooler weather and are very hardy, so will withstand frosts etc. Whilst they can be irritating to grow over the summer,¬†pests are much less of a problem at this time of year so you won’t need to work so hard to protect your crops.

Whereas in spring we would advise you to pop a brassica collar around the base of brassicas to prevent cabbage root fly, cover them with netting to prevent cabbage white butterflies from laying their eggs and keep them protected from slugs, you can relax a little more at this time of year. Here’s why…

  1. Butterflies shouldn’t be laying eggs now and won’t start doing so again until May, so your brassicas will be safe from caterpillars. It’s worth checking for eggs for the next week or so, but they really shouldn’t be a problem now.
  2. Cabbage root fly is normally a problem between April and late August. By September/October it’s very unlikely to be a problem and by early spring, when they do come around again, your brassicas will be more mature and able to withstand any damage.

So, that makes things easier…all you need to do is protect them from slugs and pigeons:

  1. Lay down plenty of beer traps and grit barriers to keep slugs off your plants and check them at weekends – it should be fairly easy to keep on top of at this time of year.
  2. Pop a net over your brassicas to keep wood pigeons from pecking the leaves. This is easily done – you just need the net, some bamboo canes and old plastic bottles. Jam the bamboo into the ground, pop the bottles on the tops and then drape the netting over.