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Now You See It…

But only if you’re paying attention. One of the keys to successful gardening is to keep your eyes open when you are out in your garden so you can learn how your plants look when things are going well and when there might be some problems. I also think all this observation and the learning that goes along with it is one of the joys of gardening.

Split Cabbage Head

Split Cabbage Head

The other day I was out in my garden and noticed that another of my red cabbages no longer looked right. There was a big ragged gap right across the top of the head. This same thing had happened on two previous cabbage heads I’d harvested. I assumed the plants had been attacked by Cabbage Worms (see Big Bad Bugs).

Split Cabbage Leaf

Split Cabbage Leaf

However, as I was peeling off some of the outer leaves I noticed that an inner leaf had a big split in it which didn’t look at all like bug damage and I didn’t see any frass (caterpillar poo) so my mind went on a new path.

I thought to another of the cabbages I’d picked and how when I cut it in half, the stem had reached all the way to the top of the cabbage. Usually the stem is only about ¾ of the way through the cabbage.

Cabbage Forming Flower Stalk

Cabbage Forming Flower Stalk

A head of cabbage is really the beginning of the flower of the cabbage plant. Many plants will produce a long stalk when they are getting ready to flower (see Arm Loads of Arugula). And I realized the split cabbages and the elongated stem was the beginning of the cabbage getting ready to flower rather than a bug problem.

So the motto is observe, take notes, think and you’ll have more success and fun in your garden.

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Image of The Organic Gardener's Home Reference: A Plant-By-Plant Guide to Growing Fresh, Healthy Food



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