I pounded 12″ segments of rebar into the ground and curved 1″ pvc plumbing pipe over them. Then I sewed rod pockets on either side of floating row cover fabric, put more pvc pipe in the rod pockets, and draped the fabric over the pvc hoops.
It was just right.
The mustard, for example, which I planted under the fabric grew so well and stayed so free of cabbage moths. I kept looking at the fresh, pristine leaves and laughing smugly at the cabbage moths as they hunted in vain for the source of that tantalizing chemical signature that told them a feast was nearby.
Well, I shouldn’t have gotten cocky.
Sure, I’d seen a few moth holes in the leaves along the periphery where the cover didn’t reach all the way. But I was unprepared for what would happen, and happen quickly, once they figured out they could get in. Nor was I prepared for the fact that the row cover, once breached, provided ideal conditions for the eggs to hatch and the larvae to operate unmolested and protected from predators.
It was ugly.
Seemingly overnight, they et everything practically down to the nub.
There was nothing to do but pull everything up and start over.
I did get a measure of satisfaction by feeding the wretched things to the hens. If Pixar made a movie about cabbage moth larvae this part would not be in the final script.
- Make sure the cover is truly covering all fly-in locations. Close is not good enough. If one can get it, they all can get in.
- Monitor daily. Nip any invaders early or the problem will get out of control fast under row cover conditions.
- Don’t get complacent. A row cover is no guarantee.
They were everywhere, folks. It was truly an epic cabbage moth larvae invasion.
At first I did not succeed, but I will try again, fastening the cover down securely. Then it will just be down to the voles and the fairies.