Of all the old-fashioned farm and kitchen chores I do, making sauerkraut is probably my least favorite.
Yesterday I pulled all the cabbages. There was a wheelbarrow load. Six hours later I had two full crocks — about 30 pounds — of sauerkraut starting to ferment, plus a few heads of cabbage to eat fresh. It’s hard, messy work. I washed each cabbage up in the garden area, with the hose. And then after bringing them down to the house, I washed each one again in the kitchen sink. The cleaning and washing alone is work enough, but shredding cabbage is even more miserable. It takes forever to shred that much cabbage, and it gets all over the kitchen. In any case, it’s a nice feeling of accomplishment when the work is done.
Early in the season, the cabbage was damaged pretty badly by cabbage worms. It took me too long to wise up and spray Bt, but that killed the worms, and the cabbages recovered far better than I ever would have expected. I saw only one cabbage worm while cleaning the cabbage. Next year I’ll know better. I’ll spray early and pre-empt the worms with Bt spray. The same is true of peaches, by the way. Peaches are highly susceptible to some kind of insect that lays eggs that hatch into larvae that tunnel into the peach. Next year, I’ll try to stay ahead of the enemies of the peach tree, probably with neem oil or a pyrethrin spray. By the time you first see them, they’ve already done a lot of damage.