There is a monster lurking in my vegetable bed. The surviving vegetables are quaking and huddling close together for safety. If I had to guess, the monster has a giant, dull but lethal machete and my cabbages were his first victims. At least that is what my overactive imagination tells me (My fourth grade teacher may have been right when she told my mother there just wasn’t something right about me).
In reality, there is no monster. Some of my cabbages have split. I am none to happy about it either. Those dang cabbages have been keeping me on edge all summer long. I had planted them late and I was certain they would bolt on me. I waited and waited and they never bolted. The weather has cooled back down and I was thought that I was in the clear. I just had to wait until they were big enough to pick.
Then today I go outside and it looks like Jason Voorhees has made a midnight run-by of my cabbages. The tender insides of cabbages laid open to slugs and any passing critter looking for a tasty snack. Oh the humanity!
No machetes did this damage. Just good old Mother Nature throwing a good old fashioned PFS (Pre Fall Season) tantrum. She’s been crying on and off for a few days and now my cabbages will pay for it.
Cabbages split because the insides grow faster than the outsides. This little phenomenon happens because of one of two things. The first is that a cabbage is over fertilized suddenly causing the insides to grow too fast.
The other and more common reason a cabbage head may split is when the cabbage has grown just about as much as it can and the plant then gets an influx of water. This causes the inside leaves to grow faster than outside leaves and that leaves you with cabbage carnage.
But never fear, you have a solution to this problem. Pick your cabbage. If you pick the cabbage when the head is firm and full, it won’t have a chance to split. Hmm… I suppose that can kind of puts a damper on the whole “I just want it to get a little bigger” camp that got me in this mess in the first place.
Well how about this then. Pick your cabbage up and put it back down. Don’t look at me like that. I am not making this up. If you start to see a bit of cracking or if you suspect that your cabbage may try to split before you are ready to eat it, lift the entire cabbage plant out of the ground and then place it back into the ground. Some sources even recommend picking it up, turning it a half turn and then setting it back down.
The reason that this works is because some of the roots get snapped in the process. This will limit the amount of water your cabbage can take up but will still allow the cabbage to take some water up through the remaining roots and keep the cabbage alive… just barely. This is not a long term solution. It is meant to give you a few days more to figure out exactly what you did with Great Aunt Bertha’s Cole Slaw recipe.
As for my remaining cabbages, I have lifted and twisted. I don’t let my kids watch horror films and I am certainly not going to let them think that brutal cabbage slashing is going on in my back yard.