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Cabbage white/pigeon protection

I'm about to plant out some kale and later on some broccoli.

I've never grown kale before, but imagine it will need netting, what are everyone's best tips? And what mesh/net is best? Does it have to be very fine or will regular net do?

Also, any good tips on protecting broccoli from the pigeons?! They always eat the tender leaves before the plant gets a chance to establish.

My veg plot is in my front garden so extra points if it looks pretty! 


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  • A fine mesh will be needed for butterflies.  Not so fine but sturdier for pigeons.
    Unfortunately no protection looks particularly attractive IMO.  Needs must as they say ;)
  • BobTheGardenerBobTheGardener Leicestershire, UKPosts: 10,409
    To keep butterflies from getting through the net, you need a hole size of 7mm or less.  This is often sold as simply as 'butterfly netting.'  I got mine from Enviromesh as I needed 6m wide stuff.  Make sure the net is held well above the full height that the tallest brassica will grow, or the woodpigeons will simply land on top and peck through it.  Also plant your broc. etc, so that the leaves won't be touching the sides of the net when it is growing, or the butterflies will be able to lay their eggs on the leaves.  I've actually watched them do it.
    A trowel in the hand is worth a thousand lost under a bush.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 67,457
    This is what my OH built out of old painting stretchers and insect mesh ... our broccoli has been safe from pigeons and Cabbage Whites ... but not sure if you’d want it in your front garden 🤔 

    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • To keep butterflies from getting through the net, you need a hole size of 7mm or less.  This is often sold as simply as 'butterfly netting.'  I got mine from Enviromesh as I needed 6m wide stuff.  Make sure the net is held well above the full height that the tallest brassica will grow, or the woodpigeons will simply land on top and peck through it.  Also plant your broc. etc, so that the leaves won't be touching the sides of the net when it is growing, or the butterflies will be able to lay their eggs on the leaves.  I've actually watched them do it.
    Ah yes!! @BobTheGardener that was what I was wondering, if the leaves were touching the mesh if they would lay eggs through the mesh, perfect thank you I will make sure there is lots of room!
  • This is what my OH built out of old painting stretchers and insect mesh ... our broccoli has been safe from pigeons and Cabbage Whites ... but not sure if you’d want it in your front garden 🤔 

    That looks incredible! @Dovefromabove yes bit big for my front garden, I'd love to have fruit cages too but same problem!

    I may just have to get used to sharing my crops with the wildlife!
  • bertrand-mabelbertrand-mabel Posts: 553
    We can't grow brassicas as our soil lacks what they need even though we have over 40 years tried to sort this out.
    However the pigeons do love the newly planted out beans and peas plants. These are then protected with the cut tops from our bamboos so that the birds can't fly in and take the leaves. Works a treat and doesn't look too bad.
  • We can't grow brassicas as our soil lacks what they need even though we have over 40 years tried to sort this out.
    However the pigeons do love the newly planted out beans and peas plants. These are then protected with the cut tops from our bamboos so that the birds can't fly in and take the leaves. Works a treat and doesn't look too bad.
    Ooh I have bamboo @bertrand-mabel do you just push them in the soil around the plants??
  • Yes. We cut back tall bamboos for use in the garden as "poles" and then their lesser parts are used to protect seedlings planted out.
    We just cut them into easy sections and push them into the ground at angles.
    Sometimes we have to change the direction depending on the plants.
    It has always worked well with keeping the pigeons away from the plants.
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 67,457
    ‘Our’ pigeons walk amongst the veg plants pecking as they go. 🙄 
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh







  • @bertrand-mabel I will give it a go! Although my pigeons are much like @Dovefromabove and just go in and around everything to get what they want!! I wouldn't mind so much if I didn't feed all the wildlife so well with all the seed and suet I put out!!
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