I registered 3 great tit (kjøttmeis) territories and 1 blue tit (blåmeis) pair in the garden this year and both have raised young. One of the young great tits has been picking off diamond back moth (kålmøll) larvae on flowering radish plants on the balcony as you can see in the video:
The perennial kales overwintered well the last two winters and are looking good. I showed a video of one I got from Walsall Allotments in Birmingham, UK a few years ago here last week: https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=25787 The first below is one of Chris Homanics’ perennial crosses (I lost track of which cross this is). It has large dark glossy leaves (a bit reminiscent of Glazed collards) and hasn’t flowered, concentrating instead its energy into producing leaves! This is a keeper. This is followed by non-flowering offspring of my Daubenton cross with Purple Sprouting Broccoli in 2012 and still alive https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=1632. These have inherited the daubenton genes but one is taller and has bigger leaves. I’m still playing with the offspring on the broccoli side, but they are less perennial but some have survived for 5 years but the broccolis are smaller than the father, but still useful. Finally is a current picture of Daubenton variegated. AND Diamond back moth (kålmøll) is now here in large numbers (over 100) and will have almost no impact on these kales, nor will other pests!
1. Homanics Norway perennial kale
2. Daubenton like (from Daubenton x Late Purple Broccoli cross)
I’m more and more convinced that perennial kales are the way forward. After two mild winters I’ve had good overwintering of most varieties except Tree Collards from California.
The film below shows a kale which I call “Walsall Allotments” which I found growing at Walsall Allotments in Birmingham (see https://www.edimentals.com/blog/?page_id=2868) on the allotment of a Kenyan man. I never managed to find out where he got these kale from, but Kenya is the only country was the only country where perennial kales were still grown commercially at the time I was researching my book. At the end of the video we see another perennial Brassicaceae, sea kale (strandkål) Crambe maritima. Note that the variety Lily White flowers significantly earlier than my other varieties.
A few days ago the plague of Brassica growers, diamond back moth (kålmøll) arrived in significant numbers here and I see on various FB groups that folk are using floating mulch and enviromesh to protect their crops. I had done the same for years, but decided that I wanted to grow vegetables without non-sustainable oil based products like Agryl fleece which is no doubt also a major source of plastic fibres in nature. Agryl is also used to bring on annual crops earlier. However, there is an alternative plastic free and sustainable alternative using perennials. As you can see, my kales having grown for two and a half months are large and have been providing kale leaves since early spring. Their main growth period is now over but will be resumed in autumn. Although diamond back moths and other butterflies lay their eggs on these kales damage isn’t significant. Therefore I am totally unworried by this invasion of moths!
Of course there are problems with perennial kales too, such as cold hardiness, deer and woodpigeons (rådyr / ringduer) in the winter and lack of diversity, but breeding projects by amateurs such as Chris Homanics in Oregon are changing all that!
This chiffchaff (gransanger) is doing its best to control the invasion of diamond back moths (kålmøll) larvae! On cress (karse) and radish (reddik) being grown for seed! I also observed house sparrows (gråspurv) feeding on them earlier today! I was cheering them on! http://www.edimentals.com/blog/?p=23073
There’s been a major arrival of diamondback moths (kålmøll) here since yesterday and there are hundreds of this major Brassica pest in the garden today! I am thankfully only growing perennial kales (Brassica oleracea) and resistent sea kale (Crambe maritima) this year, both of which are already close to maximum yield and unlikely to be severely affected by the moth. This also means I don’t need to use any form of protection (horticultural fleece / fiberduk) which is probably a major source of agricultural microplastics. Problem solved!
Phyteuma spicatum is the most popular bee plant in my garden at the moment and a great edimental….a very old root vegetable in Europe, mentioned already by Gerard’s Herball from 1597, but best known as a vegetable in France and Germany.
These pictures are from a bed in my garden where I originally planted Phyteuma nigrum (P. spicatum subsp. nigra) many years ago. It must have crossed with other plants elsewhere in my garden as there’s now a range of colours from white to almost black!
The name rapunsel is related to rapa (turnip) due to its use as a root vegetable!
This video was taken in June 2016 during the big diamond back moth invasion..
Here’s more evidence for the importance of having sparrows in our gardens! In the video can be seen both house and tree sparrows (gråspurv og pilfink) feeding on diamond back moth (kålmøll) larvae from kale leaves!
While eating breakfast this morning I spotted these house sparrows (gråspurv) eating diamond back moth (kålmøll) larvae from the undersides of these ragged jack kale plants, sown as a salad crop, but long since given up to the moths… Better late than never I suppose!!
One of the worst invasions of diamond back moth / kålmøll happened a couple of days ago….here is a video showing hundredds swarming over one of my Lily White sea kale plants which is about to flower. Luckily they never do much damage to sea kale (Crambe maritima) as the harvest is over before they arrive, one of the big advantages of perennial brassica…on the other hand, annual brassica crops are being planted now in my area…they have little chance against these tiny moths….
I blame the rapeseed oil industry for this…they don’t overwinter here, but they migrate passively on warm winds from central Europe and Russia, even reaching Svalbard and Northern Norway…