Growing Butterfly-Free Brassicas

Brassicas….such a wonderful sounding name, kinda rolls off the tongue like a holiday in a tropical island! It’s winter, and I kinda need a tropical holiday, but I really need to plant up my winter garden, so brassicas will have to do. Broccoli, cabbage, pak Choi, cauliflower ….. all those wonderful cold-loving veggies that don’t mind the cold and a little bit of frost. But the dilemma is always that autumn is still too warm and so those pesky little white cabbage eating butterflies are still flitting about on their merry destructive egg-laying mission. So it’s vital to protect them from those eggs which give rise to voracious brassica-devouring green caterpillars who are the offspring of those pesky butterflies. I guess you could run after them with a net but it’s a case of hit and miss…..


Don’t get me wrong, everything has a place in nature…. and if it weren’t for the life-cycle of those white flitty butterflies, you could almost enjoy their little dance over all your veggies. But those zig-zaggy flitty flight paths have deadly consequences for all brassicas and green leafy veggies! Which is why I have just spent time butterfly-proofing my brassica bed. It’s easy to do and requires little resources to complete.

Lengths of irrigation pipe, bamboo lengths and garden ties.

What you need:

  • Bird netting
  • Irrigation piping, about 1.5m x 4 lengths
  • Smaller 8cm lengths of irrigation piping x 8
  • Bamboo
  • Garden ties (I use old discarded socks, cut into lengths)

8cm pipe cut lengthwise

How to assemble your Anti-White Butterly Protection

Stick the ends of each of your 1.5m irrigation piping into the soil at the edge of the be (as in photo), making sure you poke them far enough to be sturdy. Create 4 loops using the piping. Connect each loop with bamboo across the top, securing them with garden ties.

Make loops to span the veggie bed.

Cut each of the 8cm piping pieces lengthwise. Drape your bird netting over the loops and secure the netting to the loops, with the smaller pipes used to clip over the loops. This stops the net from blowing off and keeps it snugly secure.

Clip small pieces pipe over netting, onto loops to secure.

Securing netting detail.

Plant out your brassicas…..voila! Butterfly-proof. Sit back and watch them grow while you plan your mid-winter tropical holiday, stress-free.

End result. Butterfly-free enclosure.

Cheers, here’s to lots of yummy broccoli and pak Choi dishes!


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