Ping-pong method to beat the butterflies

A non-insecticide method to maintain cabbage butterflies at bay… white pansies planted between the cabbages and a string of ping pong balls. Photograph: Jackie Warburton

With spring throughout, gardening columnist JACKIE WARBURTON writes about bugs, butterflies, greens and hedges. 

WHILE visiting a 90+ year-old gardener, I used to be excited to see her insect decoy strategies on her cabbages. 

Jackie Warburton.

This non-insecticide thought used white pansies planted between the cabbages and a string of ping pong balls across the patch and no netting. 

A intelligent little decoy, it lets the cabbage butterflies know that this plant is taken and there wouldn’t be sufficient of a meals supply, and so they transfer on. 

My cabbages have been rising strongly and actually starting to kind a head now, regardless of struggling by means of moist winters. However they’re a long-lasting vegetable in summer season and have many makes use of within the kitchen. 

To date, I’ve had probably the most success with “Savoy” as a result of they’re probably the most hardy in frost. Plant them out in autumn and so they develop by means of the winter. 

GROWING most greens and salad greens by seed is a cost-effective approach for rising meals. Use a seed-raising combine from the nursery or effective compost and sand for the seeds to develop in. 

Select a small container or seed tray, water and maintain moist, however not moist. Plant out half the seeds and some weeks later, plant the opposite half and this can lengthen the yield and sluggish the glut of 1 vegetable when they’re able to be picked. 

Hopefully, over winter there was soil preparation and the bottom is weed free when rising edibles. Most greens will want no less than 5-6 hours of full solar to develop rapidly and powerful, however there’ll nonetheless be a bit of frost. 

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Crop rotation planting decisions will rely upon what was rising in that area final yr. Crops akin to tomatoes, eggplants and capsicums shouldn’t be planted in the identical spot to stop fungal illnesses which may nonetheless be within the soil. As an alternative plant legumes, akin to beans and peas. 

Sprinkle a bit of gardeners’ lime, dig the realm over flippantly and plant out. It’s nonetheless a bit of too early to plant summer season greens akin to tomatoes, pumpkins and capsicums.

The Bagworm Moth…a fantastic native insect to have within the backyard. Photograph: Jackie Warburton

AS the climate warms, the pest and bugs can be about as nicely. Attempt encouraging predatory bugs to the backyard with crops that entice them to create biodiversity within the backyard. 

Use all kinds of enticing crops that flower all through completely different seasons and crops that may be seen by the bugs. The Bagworm Moths are inconspicuous bugs to search for within the backyard and will not be a nuisance in any respect. 

They wish to eat many natives akin to eucalypts, tea timber and ornamentals, however not in plague proportions. They’re a gaggle of moths and caterpillars that make cell properties from silk, a fantastic native insect to have within the backyard. 

AS development begins, hedges will want a trim constantly all through spring and summer season to maintain them neat and tidy. 

Prune evergreen hedges after flowering. Most hedges want pruning little however typically and the smaller the leaf the higher the plant for a hedge. 

If planning to plant a hedge, make sure that the dimensions and development is appropriate for the place it’s to go. A poor selection of plant will create upkeep implications down the observe. Hedges are a long-term selection, so a little bit of analysis can be wanted for the fitting hedge for the fitting spot. 

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My favorite go-to hedge crops are Luma apiculata, Viburnum tinus or camellias. They’re all evergreen and hard when established. 

Preparation for the place they’re to be planted will have to be executed just a few weeks earlier than planting and digging over the soil, including natural matter to a trench relatively than particular person holes. Flip over the soil and maintain it weed free till planting. 

A superb hedge must be 1-2 metres tall with crops 70 centimetres aside. Select all of the crops on the identical time so there’s consistency within the development. Preserve the water as much as them for the following few months and maintain the soil moist, however not moist. 

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Ian Meikle, editor