With the temperatures dipping back down into the 20s tonight, the cabbage transplants had to go under cover. Yesterday evening, I cut the bottoms off of 10 bits of waste plastic which had been carefully saved by me, my parents, my sister, and my neighbor. (People are remarkably generous with their trash if you ask politely and explain your need.)
Seven were gallon-sized milk jugs and three were two-liter soft-drink bottles, the latter requiring a knife to cut. Granddaddy fully approves of planting cabbages early in the season… early enough to risk losing them. Frost only sweetens the taste of cabbage, and they are quite resistant to the cold in general. But brand-new transplants probably shouldn’t be exposed to these temperatures plus tonight’s high winds.
He’d told me before to immediately cover the baby cabbages with empty milk jugs, which have the added benefits of raising the outside temperature a degree or two to encourage strong early growth, protecting the maturing cabbages from marauding insects, and helping them to form a compact head if the temperatures are not chilly enough to make it happen naturally.
I suppose the idea is basically like a poor man’s cloche, only instead of a lovely dome of glass or a synthetic lookalike, these are, well, let’s just say not so aesthetically pleasing. And I’m just finicky enough about how the kitchen garden looks, even in this time when it looks nearly empty (it is not, but looks it), that I refused to put the carefully hoarded plastic stash to use when I put in the first transplants.
But, oh, well, a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do. I refuse to potentially lose half of my poor cabbages because I thought, in effect, that their scarves were an ugly color. I can be practical, even if the result is not pretty. (What you can’t see is how my lips are pinched as I type that sentence.)
To make the whole ordeal less sordid, however, I did go outside after the moon was well up, gorgeous and bright with a soft blue nimbus in that cold air, and request protection and maybe some extra love for my darlings who are now swaddled in yucky plastic, asking that this early undercover stint be followed by jaw-droppingly beautiful, barely-nibbled, magnificent, dew-spangled heads later in the season. I pictured them for a moment rather like pimply, whiny, superficially-minded preteens swathed in baby fat who end up as ravishing, emotionally-mature young adults with deep thoughts and wonderful ideas for saving the world. (Hey, it does happen, and more often than you’d think! I’ve seen it several times, and it always gives me cause for hope.)
As you can see from the photograph taken when I peeked inside this morning, so far, so good.