Village Life: When 179 cabbages isn’t enough

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Post author Mate

Written by our local expert Mate

Mate is Croatian and owns a transport company in the Balkans, he has visited over 30 countries. He is an expert on all things transportation as well as food and wine.

Do you like cabbage? Luckily we do, as 180 are currently making themselves comfortable in the garden, RIGHT NOW!

We are blessed to eat fresh fruit and vegetables from our extended family’s gardens. Everything is grown in our little village and primarily grown in the same place you might have your front lawn or deck chair. We’ve noticed an interesting cultural difference between Australia/USA and our village: nobody has a lawn. All available land around your house is used for fruit & veggies and other practical purposes.

We are now into the last couple of weeks of summer, and this is the time to plant the local cabbage seedlings. Fortunately for us, Cousin Snjega potted some seeds several weeks back, and now the seedlings are ready to be transplanted into their new home.

So what happens in our family when it’s time for a mass seedling planting? Firstly, we have a glass of homemade wine to raise our spirits. Then we each have a role to play. It went a little something like this:

Person 1 – Digs the holes for the cabbages. This must be done by an expert, given how hard you have to swing the hoe.

Person 2 – Fills the holes with water to soften the ground. This was my job as I couldn’t yet be trusted with hole digging and seedling removal. This expat is safest here; for now, next year, I am to move up the ranks!

Person 3 – Removing seedlings & placing them into holes. This is a tricky activity, as you have to select the best seedlings and minimize the damage to them as you remove them. Because if they get too stressed, they won’t recover. This is the best job for the actual family expert. Cousin Snejga.

That’s me watering… No need for safety boots here


cabbages summer green gardening
The expat is not allowed to touch the seedlings.

After the seedlings are planted, you again have to water them in.

On this particular summer evening, it was a real family affair. We had relatives from New York visiting and our German friends who holiday in Privlaka every summer.  As such,  everyone pitched in, enjoyed a few glasses of homemade wine, and had great conversations in 3 languages long into the night.

Several seedlings were leftover, so they were given to my Uncle for his garden – it’s a real community.

cabbages summer green gardening
It’s fun for the entire family
cabbages summer green gardening
I’m in my glory, can you tell?
vladimir cabbage gardening summer autumn
Vladimir wasn’t so sure at first but then loved getting dirty.

When we were planning to move to Croatia and become the expats in the village, this is exactly what we wanted to experience, and we look forward to many more days like this one.

How to grow a cabbage;

Step 1: Clear the area for planting. In this case, it was the space that the 300kg of potatoes had been harvested six weeks ago.

Step 2: Prepare the space for each plant by digging out a hole 20cm round and 10cm deep.

Step 3: Fill each hole with water.

Step 4: Dig a smaller hole with your hands deep into the mud, and drop in the seedling.

Step 5: Cover the area back in with the dirt, and push down very firmly all of the way around the seedling.

Step 6: Water in again

cabbages summer green gardening

cabbages summer green gardening

Tips from our garden to yours:

  • Choose a day that is overcast or really cloudy as the day to plant your seedlings. This will help reduce the shock of being uprooted.
  • Choose a site in full sun or with a bit of shade.
  • Space each cabbage at least 30cm apart when planting – this will ensure adequate space for each to grow up big and strong.
  • It is best to grow cabbage in full sun, but the plants can deal with partial sun.
  • You must water the seedlings regularly, and when the weather is warm, they’ll need extra water.

If you decide to grow cabbages, we can’t be held responsible for extra personal gas that you may notice upon consuming too many cabbages.

Comments (13)

  1. I love your gardening space (and your ability to garden) – I don’t think I could appropriately handle either – everything looks great! What do you plan with 180 cabbages – do you preserve them somehow?

  2. I love this – this is my favourite post yet. Great photos and story…it even makes me want to go out and plant some cabbages (and have a couple of glasses of wine!!) :)

  3. I want to eat Vlad!!! You can keep the cabbage… That’s a LOT of cabbage rolls…

  4. Looks great!!! My garden is not so big, but I am proud to say that my basil, mint and broccolini are growing well!

  5. This is fascinating. First, I love the idea that there is no ‘lawn’ but an actual garden that people use- not just to look pretty. Secondly- the cabbage garden is incredible. Good thing y’all like cabbage :) looks like you have plenty!

  6. Do you add manure (gnoj) or anything else to feed them young sprouts ?
    Next question: what sort of (or how many sorts) do you plant ?
    Tip: if having problems with them bastard caterpillars, cut small pieces of that asphalt paper they use when building roofs.
    Cut pieces of 10×10 cm, cut to the center from one side, make a hole in the middle, and put it gently over the stem.
    Them caterpillars (no joke) can’t pass that blockade, you’ll find out.
    Of course you still have to check if some butterflies were clever enough to lay their eggs under some leaves.
    Another great tip:
    When seeding carrots, combine lines of them with lines of onion.
    Onion flies hate carrots and carrot flies hate onions.
    Simple trick, I learned, and it works damned great (no more holes in my carrots).
    Yes, country life is great, but oh boy, do I still have much to learn.
    Poz. pim.

    1. Thanks for those tips. We will try them when we get out garden For now we pillage our families gardens. As for the manure, no I do not believe she did. I’ll ask her though, as I could be wrong. BUT it will have to wait until Mr. CtD is home, as she speak a no english and me can’t thinky how to asky.

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