Brassica Cage Tips: Protecting Brassicas in Summer
Posted on 10th August 2021 at 15:09
What is a brassica cage?
A brassica cage (also known as a vegetable cage or fruit cage) is a netted enclosure for protecting brassicas such as cabbages, sprouts and broccoli from being eaten by cabbage white butterflies and other garden pests.
Brassica cages are made up of a fruit cage frame (usually made from aluminium, hard or spring steel or occasionally bamboo) and fruit cage netting, along with pegs and other fixings to secure your cage to the ground.
Why use a brassica cage for protecting brassicas in summer?
Summer sees the garden spring to life. Along with fruiting crops and blooming flowers, wildlife begins to proliferate. Which means many more hungry mouths to feed!
Cabbage white butterflies in particular like to lay their eggs on brassica leaves. These eggs soon hatch into cabbage white caterpillars, which quickly devour crops. Once your brassicas are infested, it can be difficult to rescue them before it's too late.
A brassica cage offers the perfect solution, preventing cabbage whites landing on your brassica leaves and their offspring from making a hearty meal of your homegrown!
What's the best crop netting for cabbages and other brassicas?
For brassicas such as sprouts and cabbages, a mesh size of around 4 - 7mm diameter is best for your crop cage. This is usually sold as butterfly netting or brassica netting on the market.
Not only is this mesh size small enough for cabbage white protection, it will also stop birds, mice and other animals hoovering up anything that the caterpillars miss!
If building your own fruit cage, it is better to choose a soft netting that is flexible and can be easily worked over a fruit cage frame. Much garden centre netting is hard and brittle, so is both difficult to work with and prone to breaking.
In our opinion it is worth spending a little more on some good quality soft touch butterfly netting if you're going down the DIY fruit cage road. Not only will it save you a lot of time and effort, it usually lasts much longer so will also save you money in the long run.
What is the best size of brassica plant cage?
Crops such as cabbages and cauliflowers usually grow to around 0.75m - 1m tall, though can get even bigger in certain conditions.
Sprouts and purple sprouting broccoli are the tallest in the brassica family, consistently needing 1 metre or more in height.
To accommodate all these crops, brassica cages are usually around 1.35m / 4.5ft tall. This allows gardeners to grow the full range of brassica crops under the right kind of protection netting.
In terms of length / width, this all depends on how many crops you want to grow. Since brassicas can get quite bulky we'd recommend a space of at least 1 metre square, which should give you more than a few tasty specimens for your summer harvest!
What is the ideal brassica plant cover for me?
Our No Frills Fruit Cages are an ideal starter plant protection cage for anyone new to grow your own. Made from plastic coated steel, these vegetable cages are strong, quick to assemble and won't break the bank. Our 1m and 1.35m tall cages with butterfly mesh are the best sizes for brassica growing, but check out the full range here.
Our Build-a-Cage range of modular, build your own fruit cages are made from powder coated weatherproof aluminium. Available in variety of sizes, these cages can also be easily extended in any direction - ideal for when you're ready to add a few more goodies to the summer dining table!
Finally our Pop Up Fruit Cages offer the most convenient solution for protecting brassicas from cabbage whites, especially our 1m x 1.35m high and 1.25m x 1.35m high models. Assembling instantly and folding away just as quickly, these covers can be deployed the moment you see a cabbage white in the garden. Just remember to keep your eyes peeled!
Tagged as: cabbage white butterflies, fruit cages, fruit netting, garden netting, growing cabbages, protecting brassicas
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