Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The Surprise Harvest: A Lesson (with edit)

Here is what you need to grow cabbage: A nice long, cool autumn and a truckload of pesticides. I had neither. So how did I end up with this?


And this wasn't all of it, either. The first time I tried to grow cabbage here at our home was a couple years ago. I started the seed, coddled the seedlings, and all was well until we were gone for a week and I came back to a cabbage moth frenzy and a few green stumps. This year, I felt bold again, knowing we had no travel plans. Not only did the cabbage take off, but it formed lush green heads that quickly pushed the boundaries of the narrow row where it was planted. And then they arrived --the bugs. Not just moths, but all manner of infestation. Things my husband, who grew up on a produce farm, could not even identify. But my holey, buggy cabbage was holding its own. And then the heat came.
"We'll just need to cut our losses and pull it," said the Mister.
Cut our losses? The things were as big as beach balls. Where on earth would we store these? Some of the heads didn't make it of course, having taken more of a hit than others. But when the harvest was done, we were faced with a fridge full of green. Well. All that, and here I thought my experimental cabbage project would maybe produce one or two heads, at best. Although I'm grateful and more than a little surprised that this worked out, I did not plan for a large amount of cabbage, and so have few ways of preserving them. Of course I made a beef and cabbage casserole, stuffed cabbage leaves, and the obligatory coleslaw. A few heads went to appreciative relatives. And that is the story of my cabbage victory, which also holds a lesson. There are times when the combination of perseverance and the passage of time will be our greatest allies in achievement. After all, there was certainly no high level of skill that overcame those two things when raising this crop!


***BAT Mom had a great question in the comments section that I'm going to answer here:
Can cabbage be pickled and canned?

Hey BAT Mom! Yes, you can pickle and can cabbage. Usually in the autumn I do an end-of-the-garden type pickle containing cabbage, onions, beans, carrots and peppers which are mixed and canned. Some people call it "mixed relish" or "chow chow." Unfortunately, it's not the end of the season so I don't have all the ingredients. But I am looking into other pickling possibilities (say that last part ten times real fast.)****

The heat and dryness where we live has been devastating this year. Once a day, usually in the evening, I walk the garden to see what needs to be picked, pull my harvest, and retreat to someplace cooler. Yet for some reason the weather had nurtured weeds beyond control this year. It's been terrible.


My energy level is much lower than it was before the infection. Everything feels like a big effort. I am trying not to return to my old ways of running myself ragged, trying to be all things to all people, but old habits die hard. But with multiple doctor appointments every week, there is less opportunity to take on more than I can handle.

Who else is having some surprises in their garden?

8 comments:

  1. Love your words about perseverance and achievement! I'd say you did right well for yourself with the cabbage experiment! By the way, can cabbage be pickled and canned? Just wondering...

    Loved your posting, as always, and I'm so happy you're feeling well enough again to post! We missed our Mennobrarian!

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  2. Hey BAT Mom! Yes, you can pickle and can cabbage. Usually in the autumn I do an end-of-the-garden type mixed relish with cabbage, onions, beans, carrots and peppers which is canned. Some people call it "mixed relish" or "chow chow." Unfortunately, it's not the end of the season so I don't have all the ingredients. But I am looking into other pickling possibilities (say that last part ten times real fast.)

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  3. Just continue taking it easy! :)

    No true surprises in the garden. I thought we'd end up with lots of strawberries, but those rotted. But hey, our tomatoes are looking good thus far. That's a surprise!

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  4. My geranium looks fabulous, thank you for asking!! :D I am really in the mood for cole slaw right now. It cracks me up when people say cold slaw - of course I don't correct them, but I do get a kick out of it.

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  5. Well, it IS cold...

    I know what you mean. Since when is there a T in "Across"? As in, I walked acrost the road. :P

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  6. Uh Kim...don't you mean "acrossed"? ;-P I lived acrossed the road from her.

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  7. This year has been a tremendously successful growing year. We tried corn this year for the first time in this garden. My husband loves corn roasted over the fire... that is the only way he eats corn since he is really not supposed to eat it at all. I guess we all have our weaknesses. Anyway, with all this heat, the corn is growing really well. I've been keeping an eye out for corn borers and have already treated the plants once down into the center.

    We are also trying "Ruth Bible Beans". All the plants are doing well, no beans yet, but soon probably. The Jacob Cattle beans have gone wild with blossoms. The squash are "taking over" and we have had lots and lots of chard which I have allowed to go to seed now for next year. We keep the chard over and don't pull it up, so alternating years it bolts and produces seed.

    I hope to have pics soon.

    Why not make some 'kraut? I love that stuff on hot dogs and corn beef.

    Hope your full strength comes back soon.

    God Bless.

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  8. I once knew someone who always said they were "flustrated". :D

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