We have had so much rain the garden is practically gasping for air.
During tonight’s deluge we even had some hail scattered in for good measure. Fortunately it was both small and short lived.
If the rain would only stop and if the heat would come, things would grow like crazy. I still have hope that will happen, but in the meantime, the forecast is for another few days of rain.
I saw a cartoon that featured two people perched on a roof to escape the rising waters and one says to the other, “At what point do we stop saying ‘At least it’s good for the garden’?”
I am having some issues with my cabbage. I found three of my Chinese Cabbage completely severed from their roots. I noticed they were looking an odd shade of green. When I reached down to examine them and they simply toppled over like a domino of cabbage corpses. It was like something out of a horror movie. A rather weird vegetable horror movie, but a horror movie just the same. I suspected cutworms, but a closer inspection revealed cabbage root maggots as the culprit.
After successfully saving these very same cabbages from aphids only a couple weeks back, it was all a bit disheartening. I started to blame the nursery, as these were the only cabbages I had purchased rather than started from seed, but then I noticed my purple cabbage were starting to go south as well.
At first I so wanted to believe that the wilting leaves were simply from too much rain. Only a few days earlier they were looking so full of their usual promise.
Now some are looking like this…
There doesn’t seem to be a lot one can do about root maggots at this point. Floating row covers or cardboard collars might have helped at the start, but now it’s too late.
One garden site advised digging the cabbage up and soaking it in a tub of water in order to drown the maggots and then replanting the cabbage.
This seemed like a crazy idea, especially given how developed the cabbages already are. They are already stressed from the maggots, how are they going to survive a mature stage uprooting and transplanting?
So of course I tried it.
I mean, why not? I only chose half a dozen of the ones that looked especially near death’s door. I figure I have little to lose at this point. And with all this rain, it is perfect transplanting weather. It did occur to me that we have had such a ridiculous amount of rain, if this theory actually worked, it should have drowned the maggots right in the bed already, but who knows.
Another garden site advised shoring up the stems with organic matter such as leaves or compost, to give the stressed roots extra support and encourage more places for rooting. I am not sure how well this would actually work, but am willing to give it a try on a few of the ones that are only mildly stressed. I am a bit concerned that it will cause root rot, but I will just have to keep an eye on things to see.
Of course there is always a chance the maggots will simply finish their life cycle and some of the cabbages will prevail without interference. I am choosing to be cautiously optimistic. I am not ready to give up on all those winter meals of cabbage and sauerkraut so easily. Surely some will survive.
As I quipped in the last post, one for the mouse, one for the crow, one for rot and one to grow.
And so it goes.
We will see.
In the meantime the rain keeps falling…