Health Check: Brassicas

Health Check: Brassicas

After the recent heat-wave, our cooler weather loving brassicas may need a little bit of extra TLC. Here we explore caterpillar damage and discoloured leaves, to unformed cauliflower heads and cabbage splitting.

Remove the yellow, dead leaves

The yellow, older leaves that drop off our brassica plants are nothing to be worried about, they are however, very attractive to slugs & snails! We would recommend clearing them up and moving them over to your compost pile to help keep your plants in a healthier state.

Check for nutrient deficiency

Purple-rimmed leaves and pale, slightly yellow leaves are common indicators of nutrient deficiency in brassicas. If you see these, it’s most likely that the plants simply don’t have access to the soil nutrients because it’s too dry. A thorough watering a few times in a week should sort them out, but to help you keep on top of your watering, our automatic irrigation system could be a life-saver! Other good ideas include, a liquid feed, or mulch with fresh compost.

Caterpillar, slug & snail damage

Brassicas are highly popular with caterpillars. Check regularly for eggs and caterpillars – we would recommend checking at least twice a week over the next couple of months until the season comes to an end. It goes without saying but, remove any you find!

Keep an eye for signs of splitting

You may notice cabbage hearts suddenly splitting and cracking. Splitting happens when the cabbage has (more or less) reached full maturity. It will usually begin after a heavy rainfall following a dry spell. If you do notice splitting, it’s best to harvest your cabbages as soon as you can before they start to decompose.

Wilting may be a sign of cabbage root fly

These flies are attracted to all brassicas and will lay their eggs at the base. The flies eat the roots and the plants will begin to struggle – growth slows right down and eventually the plant will wilt and then die. There isn’t really any way to fix it if it’s already started, but prevention is key. We would recommend putting a brassica collar around the base of plants when you plant them out. Ideally, you would cover the row with a horticultural fleece as well.

Take a look at our automatic irrigation systems here to help you keep on top of your watering!