When the cooler weather sets in and those holey woolen jumpers emerge from their boxed-up, summer home, it can be tempting to let the vegetable patch go into hibernation and to cocoon oneself in the comfort of the insulated indoors until the season metamorphoses into spring.
If like me, however, one happens to have a ravenous penchant for tucker from that expansive wingspan of plants, the brassicaceae family, then there are a few things to add to the cool season to-do-list that will help realise a more healthy, hole-and-critter free crop on the other side of winter.
Recently, in addition to erecting pest netting and planting a few additional trap plants (sacrificial cabbage greens sown on the outside of the netting) seedlings at our community garden allotment, there was a flurry of activity about the homestead. Inspired by an idea from Annie – a fellow community gardener and allroud growing guru – my distance-learning pupae were piqued into crafty action, upcycling some everyday recyclables into pragmatic garden ornaments: cabbage moth decoys.
Old milk bottles
Fade resistant markers
10 cm x 5 cm lengths of soft, white plastic (two per decoy)
Start by first cutting a milk bottle into six rectangles. Draw a simple butterfly onto each rectangle.
Cut out the butterfly and, using some fade resistant coloured markers, go wild with the colour creations.
Using a thick darning needle, pierce two holes through the butterfly’s abdomen (about one centimeter apart). To attach a butterfly to a bamboo stick, first thread the twist-tie/wire through the pierced holes (both ends pointing non-coloured side down). Layer a couple of soft plastic strips over the top of the bamboo stick (centered). Place the coloured butterfly on top, wings overlapping the soft plastic. First secure the butterfly in place in the center of the bamboo stick with a sewing pin. Finish securing the butterfly, by wrapping the twist ties about the bamboo stick.
Your beautiful butterfly creations are now ready to be placed in the garden for some territorial-moth deterring action!
Now…I’d love to say that all one need do now is to sit back and wait for the burgeoning brassica spoils to land on your post-winter dinner plate…but then I might end up with partially masticated, fat, green caterpillar spots on my tongue! As the hatch span of the cabbage moth (egg to first stage larva) is very short, a regular leaf check for little green eggs (the size of a pin head) will help to ward off the last of those particularly evasive, little white flutters and hence save that bountiful future harvest from being totally mothballed!