According to various books and websites the most common cauliflower pests are aphids, flea beetles, slugs and snails, leaf hoppers, and several insect larvae. Therefore, adopting my usual give-it-a-go organic approach I scattered coffee-grounds and agricultural grit around the plants as the worst culprits – slugs – do not like to travel across these gritty surfaces. This was the advice I had previously passed on to a good friend whose Brighton courtyard garden’s pots had fallen victim to slug invasion, airily proclaiming “Oh, I haven’t had any problems with slugs and, after all, Monty says…” and reeled off the Don’s various directives!
However, even these tips proved to be negligible, as over just a couple of nights all plants were reduced to nibbled stalks, and it was necessary to pull them out, and replant a new batch…. but this time in the middle of the vegetable patch, thinking this would be too far from the marauding slugs lurking in the hedge-line.
Smugly I thought I was thwarting all slug attacks, and lapsed into complacency for all of two days and until Paul and I actually witnessed the culprit in action! It was a rotund yet ravenous MOUSE nibbling, munching and chomping through my brassicas in broad daylight! Cheek!!
So, now I have had to abandon the prospect of harvesting my own cauliflowers this winter, and instead have sown more onions and shallots in their place; I figure that the mouse will not dig up these bulbs – but I’m open to contradiction!
“There is no gardening without humility. Nature is constantly sending even its oldest scholars to the bottom of the class for some egregious blunder”.
Alfred Austin, poet laureate of England in 1896, and author of ‘The Garden that I Love’ (1894).