First Cabbage

Half cabbage in foreground, chopped in backgroundIt’s always a race in the garden as the summer swings into full gear. I plant both red and green cabbage.

Green was the winner for the first head of the season. I find that I like the taste and texture of the green cabbage better for coleslaw and you don’t get that pink juice look as the red leaches into the dressing.

But I prefer the red cabbage in the garden because they are less likely to be attacked by pests. The red has less trouble with aphids, slugs and the pesky cabbage worm (its that white butterfly/moth that flits around and deposits larvae that turn into the green worm that can burrow in and devour more greens than I can while leaving clumps of waste deposits of its own).

However, I do not leave the cabbages to fend for themselves. I use a mixture of flour and ground pepper to shake onto the leaves for a natural pest deterrent. A ratio of about three flour to one pepper seems to be the magic formula for me but a caution is needed about using the mixture. Be very stingy when applying to the plants, a light dusting every couple of weeks is enough. Too much flour when mixed with rain or watering will clump large amounts of flour that eventually settle into the base of the leaves where it slowly rots in the summer sun. One year the stems of the cabbages rotted off as the putrefying mixture ate its way through the plant.


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