Undercover crops

My broccoli, growing under a cover of environmesh is doing very well. The fine mesh is doing a grand job of keeping off the whitefly (so far), the cabbage white butterflies that like to lay their eggs on the underside of the leaves, and which hatch out into very hungry caterpillars that devour the leaves in no time at all, and the pigeons which inexplicably love to savage the plants, stripping them down to a bare stalk.

These harsh lessons of nature I have learnt, and so the brassicas must be covered over for as long they take to crop. Once the heads have developed (in a couple of months from now I hope) I can probably take the risk of exposing them to the world. But for now, I have ten healthy, happily protected plants, and I’d like to keep them that way.

My strawberries on the other hand, are another matter. Despite covering them with chicken wire cloches to keep the birds off, they are still getting eaten, just at the point of ripening. Not happy! I was so looking forward to eating these, and some monster has got there before me. I don’t like using slug pellets too often, but these are organic, and I’ve used them sparingly. But I can’t see much evidence of slimy trails, so I’m thinking it could be mice? A small mouse could probably squeeze through the holes in the chicken wire, so maybe I’ll have to throw some smaller netting over the top of the wire. Will the battles never end!

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