One thing we were hoping this year was to extend our growing season by planting winter cabbages in our front garden.  We chose the Vertus variety and were rather excited about this since they are harvested from December through to February and would therefore keep the garden active over the winter period.

We were particularly interested in this crop since we may not grow cabbages in the spring and summer next year.  The main reason for this is that we’ve labelled them as a high maintenance crop, since the butterfly problems of the summer and slug issues of our damp climate make hard work of the 20 cabbages we try to grow.

Our butterfly net worked well but keeping the slugs away was much harder.  We therefore thought that growing cabbages over the winter would be a much better idea.

We were therefore disappointed to observe several pigeons feasting on our tender young plants one morning last week.  We have a huge pigeon problem in our street, mainly because we have elderly neighbours with a bird table in their front garden.  This does a great job at attracting pigeons and now that they’ve grown bored with the cake and bread that our neighbours provide they’ve started to migrate towards the healthier options available at the City Smallholder household.

A quick fix was our decision to protect them with plastic bottles, but there will come a time when they’ll out-grow this protection and will be more exposed to pigeon attack.  Maybe cabbages will always be hard work.  They’re tasty if you get them to harvest.  But there’s a lot of nurturing needed along the way.

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By David Wright

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