NET YOUR BRASSICAS
There are many approaches to beating cabbage white butterflies at their game laying eggs on your cabbages, cauli, broccoli and kale, but none are perfect, save netting. You can’t go wrong with a well placed, well timed, unbreachable net that’s fine enough to keep white butterflies off the leaves of your brassica collection. You need to make sure the net is lifted clear of the plants; use hoops of wire, alkathene or bamboo to prevent the nets from touching the leaves you are trying to protect. When you’ve successfully netted your brassicas away from the sort of harm hungry caterpillars can do, don’t cease your inspections – some cunning white will be sure to get in somehow, and you have to get to the rogue eggs it’ll leave behind before they hatch and start chewing. Vigilance is paramount! – Robert Guyton Catering for frosts because you’ve noted a yearly pattern can save a whole crop from loss. Take especial note of the presence of bees and other pollinating insects and see if you can determine where they came from and how they got to your garden. If there’s a problem with poor pollination, you could formulate a plan for better results next year, by for example, talking to a bee keeper and arranging some temporary hives for your neighbourhood. – Robert Guyton
value greater than their beauty to your garden. Trees such as kowhai, kakabeak, tree lucerne and laburnum do as all legumes do – capture nitrogen from the atmosphere and store it in your soil for sharing later on. Legumes (and remember that peas and beans are included in this family) feed the plants around them, sometimes when they expire, as with annuals, but often gradually as their roots re-form. A bonus with most leguminous trees and shrubs is that kereru will travel big distances to feast on their leaf tips and flowers, their favourite being the broom and gorse so disliked in the agricultural world. I don’t suggest you plant those, but legumes like them would do very nicely indeed.