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applestar
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Cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower planting plan: a theory

I might be jumping the gun here, but I was looking out the window at my garden, not wanting to go outside because it was a muggy humid day and the mosquitoes were sure to be out in force... And noticed that my one unprotected cabbage has a nice round head on it, definitely ready to harvest.

Now, this was a plant I gave up on because it couldn't be covered and protected inside the insect barrier tunnel... Due to a couple of parsley that overwintered and had bolted being in the way. The parsley, it turned out, has a very long bloom period. They have been in flower most of June and into July, and constantly visited by tiny flies and wasps, as well as mating soldier beetles, and other beneficial insects. So picture this cloud of parsley flowers 4 ft tall and 3 ft wide, under which sat the cabbage all this time.

Just across the path from them is a largish lavender plant, also in flower since June and attracting obscene number of cabbage white butterflies, as well as bumblebees. Occasionally wasps.

I'll verify tomorrow when I harvest that head of cabbage, but at least from the upstair's window, that cabbage looks whole. (That's why I said I'm jumping the gun)

IF and big IF, it turns out that the cabbage grew mostly undamaged, I'm going to sow parsley seeds all over next year's spring Cole crop bed so they can be established before winter and survive to flower next year. I'm supposed to sow parsley seeds by 7/15 in my Zone 6b area.

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rainbowgardener
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Interesting... brassicas are supposed to do well with chamomile, peppermint, dill, sage, rosemary, nasturtium, borage. Parsley is of course in same family as dill...

Keep us posted, what you discover!
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It sounds like were on the verge of a verified intercropping combinations :8.
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applestar
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OK, so what do you all think?

Here's the UNprotected (i.e. NOT covered under insect barrier) cabbage that was under the parsley:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7588.jpg[/img]
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7589.jpg[/img]

For comparison, here's a cabbage that was under the insect barrier row tunnel -- it was not attacked by caterpillars, but got pretty badly damaged by slugs:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7590.jpg[/img]

Just to be fair, here's a red cabbage that was also under the insect barrier (Slugs tend not to go after red veggies as much. I've noticed it with red luttuce as well):
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7613.jpg[/img]

... and the UNprotected after harvest -- note that there ARE some holes in the outer leaves:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7610.jpg[/img]

... this is the way it looked after taking all the outer leaves (i.e. leaves with holes) off. The cleaned head in the middle is unblemished and weighed 2 lbs:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7612.jpg[/img]

Now, this is a horribly blurry photo taken near sunset through a wet upstairs window (maximum zoom) but can you see the proximity of the lavender to the left and relationship between the parsley flowers and the cabbage?:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7586.jpg[/img]

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applestar
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As a comparison, although they also attract beneficial insects, these radish flowers did nothing to help protect the Red Russian Kale growing below:
[img]https://i290.photobucket.com/albums/ll272/applesbucket/Image7676.jpg[/img]

The number and variety of insects visiting the radish flowers are significantly less. It may also have something to do with the fact that radish and kale are both from the same mustard family.

FYI. There are several Calendula plants (you see some of the yellow flowers) next to the radish just outside of the frame. Didn't help the kale either in terms of caterpillars, though hopefully, it IS somehow helping the carrots and tomatoes on its other side.

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applestar
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Re: Cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower planting plan: a theory

Bump. I want to think about this some more.
I have a whole bunch of volunteer parsley seedlings this fall that are growing under where one of this year's parsely bloomed and set seeds. I wonder if it would be worth it to transplant them around.

...now WHERE was I growing cabbage next year? 8)
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower planting plan: a theory

It's the carrots love tomatoes (and vice versa) theory. Tomatoes especially love carrots when they are left to flower. For some reason all my carrots that were planted from seed late this winter, flowered, even though they are supposed to be biennial (maybe because I planted them so early). I did leave some to flower and those are in the bed with some tomato plants. The tomatoes were pretty undamaged, except here very late in the season they are collecting stinkbug damage.

All that carrot family stuff is really good at attracting lots of different beneficial insects including the brachnid wasps, tachnid flies, etc as well as swallowtail caterpillars. I try to have parsley in all my beds and leave some overwintering.
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Re: Cabbage/broccoli/cauliflower planting plan: a theory

Anything in the parsley family carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, caraway, etc attract a host of beneficial insects when they are in bloom. People don't realize that. When they make companion planting lists they say what they attract and help but they do not always tell you that they work better in bloom. A lot of people will cut off the blooms to keep the plants around longer. While dill and fennel will still attract ladybugs, they are an aphid trap, they attract more when they are in bloom. Carrots and fennel (Queen Anne's Lace too) have a long bloom and provide nectar and pollen for bees, parasitic wasps, tachinid flies, hover flies, lady bugs, lacewings, etc.

There are problems though, fennel and dill do not bother other plants until they come into bloom, then they stunt plants around them. That is why dill helps tomatoes when they are young but once they bloom they stunt the growth of tomatoes.
I plant fennel around plants that are not bothered by it. Ginger has a different type of aphid from fennel, and gynuura and horseradish are bulletproof. If I get my plants to grow before the fennel blooms, the fennel will actually protect them. I have a perilla next to the fennel, usually it is shot full of holes, but it is clean and fairly large for a perilla at over 4 ft. I have gotten it taller though. Perilla planted there before grew better than perilla planted 15 ft away until the fennel bloomed. Then the perilla closest to the fennel stunted and the other perillas farther away started to get much larger. It still looked good, just half the size.

Isn't it great when you let nature do what she does best and don't interfere. I love it when the garden patrol is on the job.
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