Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Winter cabbage, still standing

Photo of a head of cabbage with moth eaten outer leaves
Savoy type cabbage, Feb 2017
From November (when we began buying vegetables again, instead of eating solely from the garden), there hasn't been much on offer outside.  I've been waiting impatiently for the cabbages to get just a little bigger!  The variety is January King 3 and I sowed the seeds in trays in July 2016, I think.  They then lived in the holding bed until late summer when I transplanted them after pulling up the meager broad beans. 

A few of the heads never grew very big, although the ones planted directly where the broad beans were (instead of a foot or more away) seem to be bigger by a fairly large margin.  That section of garden soil was badly affected a few years ago when the neighbor put up his new fence;  he really overloaded the concrete for the posts which ended up leaching out too much lime, causing a major pH change.  At that time, pretty much everything in that bed died:  vegetables, flowers, and even weeds.  After a year, the first plants (weeds actually) began growing back;  close to three years on, it's still less fertile than the rest of the vegetable beds but much recovered. 

We've eaten a couple cabbage heads now, and there are several left, but only one or two have nice large heads.  Still, a little cabbage is better than no cabbage, and I'll be more careful this year to transplant them right on top of where beans were, not to the side.  Incidently, I handpicked the cabbage moth caterpillars off them and all the other brassicas every day for a whole month (I stopped after a month, being utterly sick of it, but the caterpillars didn't), but recently I noticed there are a couple still alive!  I can hardly believe it, seeing as it's February and there have been multiple very hard frosts.  How are they surviving??  I didn't have the heart to squash them, though.

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