Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Of Cabbages and Kings

Yesterday, I got seven and a half pounds of cabbage, from ones that split and heads too little to store, shredded, salted, and packed into a crock for sauerkraut (how-to here). My cabbages grow in the same bed as my root crops. I stop watering for a week or so before digging the carrots, beets, and potatoes. But I've had problems getting enough moisture out of the cabbage, and don't like feeling like I'm bruising it instead of just packing it down.

So this year I tried soaking the heads overnight first, and then letting them drain/drip dry in the dish drainer this morning. That worked great - the cabbage shreds were crisp and crunchy, and once tossed with the salt started to sweat right away. When I packed it into the crock there was plenty of brine. I put the crock into the cellar, where it will slowly ferment over the next couple of months. I've still have 4½ nice big cabbages for fresh eating this winter too.

While I was in the kitchen, Aries picked the apples from our MacIntosh and Liberty trees (those are my potted fig trees in the wagon - not normally grown in Nevada. Right now, they're being moved in and out of the garage until they go dormant, and then they'll spend the winter in the cellar). We got a lot of apples, but they were all so small, some bird-pecked, and some of these late apples had worms in them (the earlier Freedom apples were much better; and the birds got all the Gravensteins, our earliest apple, this year). We also gleaned three baskets of heirloom apples from an old tree on a lawyers' office lawn in the old section of town before the snow. They're beautiful, big apples, but three-quarters of those were wormy too. I picked through them, and put the good ones in the cellar. We're going to make a batch of hard cider from all the rest. I'll write about it when we do. After he finished with the apples, Aries started cleaning up the garden - pulling out all the plants that froze, shredding them, getting them into the compost bin.

I can't believe he did it again!
Black kale, Tuscan, dinosaur, Lacinato - whatever you call it, it's supposed to be the king of kales for taste and texture. Last year, I had one plant, that I stuck in with the peppers and tomatoes after a pepper plant died. I was really looking forward to having a wonderful winter green for fresh eating. But after the first freeze, and Aries had cleaned up the garden, my beautiful kale plant was gone! He'd pulled it up along with the dead plants. "Couldn't [he] see it was a thriving plant, not dead?" He said he was sorry - he didn't realize it was something I wanted. What else could I do but forgive him?

This summer, I set out three black kale plants, this time, in with the rest of the greens and hardy plants. They grew great. The aphids didn't bother them, neither did the recent snow - all three were strong healthy plants almost two feet tall. And today, all three were gone! Again! His defense: "they didn't look like food."

Aaarrgggh! It's thriving, in a vegetable garden - what else would it be! I still can't believe it - especially since he left a puny little chard plant growing right next to them, and some weedy bitter overgrown mustard plants down the way a bit (he also pulled up all my lettuce plants I had purposely let go to seed so I could harvest the seeds - ok, they did look pretty weedy; and the last head of cauliflower - now that had to look like food). Sometimes I just don't understand how that man thinks!

Ok, I have to get over it. What's done is done. On another note: Two nights ago, the full moon rose over the middle of Prison Hill. Our house is pretty much square with the compass points, and the moon was due east, straight out from the deck and our big window. Then tonight, when I went out to close up the chicken coop, the moon was coming up waaaaay over to the northeast, clear over above the north end of Prison Hill. I couldn't even see it from our big window. Even though I've noticed the same thing before (was it this time of year? maybe), it's hard to believe the moon's orbit wobbled that much in only two days (they haven't bombed it yet, have they?). Or is the Earth wobbling on its axis? Maybe that's why we're having earthquakes and tsunamis? Can the ancient Mayans be right after all?


Carol said...

our husbands must be brother---mine gardens the same way as yours.

Anonymous said...

Funny you should mention the Mayans as I have been wondering the same. After much reading on the web it would appear that our magnetic poles are getting ready to switch, meaning north will become south and visa versa. I've also read where it is possible that the crust will actually shift around the core and place Alaska at the equator. Not sure I want to think about any of that atm!
Great news on the cabbages - I was gifted with 2 huge heads and am going to kraut them tonite. =)

Throwback at Trapper Creek said...

I'm shaking my head in agreement, we have resorted to picture drawing, and surveyors tape. I highly recommend them as marital aids ;)

Barb J. said...

I am coveting your cabbage! We have never been able to grow it to fruition here because of cabbage worms. But we keep trying!

Melynda said...

I am wanting to try my hand at sauerkraut, thanks for posting the link to the instructions.

Annodear said...

I'm thinking Aries doesn't like kale!

Interesting about the moon!!

Francesca said...

My husband doesn't do much work in the garden (mercifully) but he does help with cutting the grass, and this how this last spring I lost three lavender bushes (they were 4 years old, and pretty woody, nothing like spring grass!).

Margaret said...

Husbands...sheesh, can't live without them, well you know how the story goes. Sometimes they are so eager to help that..well they are just too eager:)
I have never grown cabbage or other cole crops until now. I started some brussel sprouts, broccoli and cauliflower seed in July and they are doing ok, I think. Some have had their leaves chomped so I might go purchase some Rotenone but only a few plants are affected so I might just take a wait and see approach.