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Hungry for Cabbage

 

Headless cabbage in an Anchorage park

Among the lovely Seattle-germinated flowers found growing in Anchorage during the summer are heads of cabbage larger than your head, with entire plants spreading as much as three feet across. I assume the cabbages are germinated in Seattle and flown in with the flowers, but the amount of growth during the short summer is amazing. The secret of Alaska's cabbage is summer's long days. Because it receives 20+ hours of daylight in late June and early July, Fairbanks get as much solar energy during summer as Chicago. Cabbage thrives in cooler climates (before cultivated, it probably grew wild in regions far from the equator) and grows well with long hours of daylight, making southern and central Alaska ideal for summer cabbages. It's true that in the interior (Fairbanks, for example) summer temperatures can soar to 90F, but such heat waves rarely last more than a couple days. Temperatures in Anchorage are much milder.

By the first of September, days are getting shorter and heads of cabbage in the garden are ready to be harvested. Apparently thinking it an inexcusable waste to let such good ornamental cabbage go to waste, a passerby removed this head of cabbage so hastily that much of it was left behind, which isn't necessarily a bad thing, as it adds a splash of color. With such large cabbages, the harvester probably cut it this way intentionally so the head could be stashed without looking unnatural under a coat or in a shopping bag. I don't know if Anchorage has an ordinance allowing the harvest of ornamental cabbage after tourist season ends, or what, but all the cabbages we saw were intact the last week of August, and perhaps a fifth had been harvested by September 2 when we returned. If you know the secret behind Anchorage's cabbage, drop me a line using the email link below.

 

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