Wednesday, 8 September 2010

2010 September 8--Cabbage and Carrots

A complete week has passed in September.  I've always considered September the unofficial start of autumn, as the new school years is underway, the temperatures grow cooler and it is the time of year to begin the harvest of things like, pumpkins, gourdes, beet root, cabbage and carrots.  

Now some of you have seen photos of the Garden on the Balcony experiment I did this year.  At one point I had several heads of deep green cabbages.   I've attached a photo here.  Since it was an experiment, I planted way too many cabbages.  This came to light when I realized that cabbages take up a LOT of space.  They crowded out the beet root I had planted.  (That's beets for the Americans)  

Then, August came.  I was thrilled to see bees suckling from the drawf sunflowers that were in bloom.  I was NOT thrilled when I realised that other flying pests had deposited eggs on my cabbages.  At first I thought it was snails.  No, it was those pesky cabbage mothes.  I began to notice holes in the cabbage leaves.  This put me into "huntress" mode, seeking out those tiny green munching machines who were making my beautiful cabbages into organic Battenburg lace.  I sought to annihilate the creeping, crawling, eating catapillars by pinching, squeezing and even cutting them up.  But there were too many for me to find.  I didn't have any incesticide.  I didn't know of any organic ways of getting rid of them.  And then, I realised that I didn't know what I was going to do with so many cabbages anyway.  Finally with reluctance and disappointment, I decided to let the bugs have them and simply let them die.  Deep sigh!

As you can see, this is not the result for which I had hoped.  But...on the other hand, experience now tells me that one does not plant cabbages in boxes.  

Carrots, on the other hand, were successful.  I purchased and planted kingston F1 carrot seeds.  I wish I had planted more of them, because they turned out so nicely.  I pulled three yesterday.  Though not long, that is due to the depth of the box.  So these will certainly be a crop repeated next year.  

What got me thinking about cabbage and carrots was the cole slaw we had with dinner last night.  Growing up we always put the dressing--mayonnaise, pickle vinegar, sugar, and mustard--on and let it set.  Leftover coleslaw is less than inviting, as the vegetables "sweat" and become rubbery.  The dressing is diluted and becomes sour.  So, last week instead of letting the slaw marinate with the dressing, the cole slaw was served like a lettuce salad and each person could add the dressing desired.  The vegetables stayed fresher for the next few days.  It also provided an opportunity for each person to try a different dressing--mayonnaise, honey-mustard, oil and balsamic get the idea.  

For those of you interested in history, I found this little bit of information:
"The term arose in 1794 as a partial translation from the Dutch term "koolsla" meaning "cabbage salad". It was commonly called cold slaw in England until the 1860's when "cole" meaning cabbage was revived. "Cole" originated from the Latin colis meaning "cabbage", and is the source of the Dutch word as well. The term coleslaw is a late 19th century term, which originated in the United States.
The "Garden on the Balcony" was my experiment, from which I gleened experience on which to build.  Here in England (and the UK) allotments are becoming more popular.  I don't have the energy for such a big responsibility.  But having grown up with parents who went through the depression, and grandparents who were born at the beginning of the 20th century, the ethos to make much from little is deeply instilled.   

Zechariah 4:" 10Who [with reason] despises the day of small things? For these seven shall rejoice when they see the plummet in the hand of Zerubbabel. [These seven] are the eyes of the Lord which run to and fro throughout the whole earth.(D)
This years plantings:  head lettuce, carrots, beet root, cabbage, sun flowers, french drawf beans (bush beans), spinach and broccoli.  Sucess:  Lettuce (after a style), beans (three handfuls), carrots, sun flowers, spinach.  Unsuccessful:  cabbage, beet root, broccoli.  

Next year I hope to plant:  leaf lettuce, beet root, carrots, squash (both green and yellow), spinach and beans.  There will probably be tomatos as well.  And some sort of flowers.

Enough of this topic--before I turn into a cabbage myself.  ;)

Serving Jesus, Author of our faith 


  1. It was the year for experimenting with balcony gardening. I used some of my containers for veggies this year too. Lettuce and spinach were successful. There are beets ready to eat. Carrots...I think could do better but there might be some small ones. Next year I will get some new containers and try again (didn't have enough flowers this year).

  2. At it's 'height' - or lack thereof - it looked mighty impressive, I must admit. Summer 2010 was more like autumn. Looking forward to 2011 summer, with more heat, hopefully.