Cabbage and frogs

I’m back early from a trip to the farm.  Yesterday, I helped weed a cabbage patch.  It was a great job, because I was given a sharp hoe and could stand most of the time.  I just reached under the cabbage and scraped the soil around the side, scything several weeds down.  There were some bugs in the weeds and a few leaves looked well-gnawed, but the cabbage had defenders as well:

There was another problem facing the cabbage.  I think it is called ‘clubroot‘:

The symptoms first noticed will be a decline of the plant including yellowing of leaves, and a tendency to wilt during hot days. Examination of the roots will reveal swollen, club-shaped roots instead of the normal fine network of roots.

The photos at the linked site above don’t really resemble what I saw.  At the farm, the roots were more spongy than they appear at the website.  Here are a few roots we broke off the plants:

This problem may be the answer to Robert Neff’s question, “Where’s the kimchi?

UPDATED SEVERAL DAYS LATER (OCT 6):  Man, I had no idea we were picking gold!  Damn that clubroot – it may have cost us millions!  Millions!

Recent new reports on cabbage prices:

Korea Herald

Korea Times

Dong-a Ilbo

English Chosun

Joongang Ilbo



4 Responses to “Cabbage and frogs”

  1. John from Daejeon Says:

    The biggest problem facing the South Korean cabbage farmers is their lack of crop rotation.

    According to, “The best way to avoid problems is to keep your cabbage healthy and your garden clean. The main insect pests include cabbage loopers, slugs, imported cabbageworms, cabbage root maggots, aphids, and flea beetles. Disease problems include black leg, black rot, clubroot, and yellows. To prevent diseases from building up in the soil, avoid planting cabbage or other cole crops in the same spot each year. Rotate with a non-cole crop for 2 years before returning to the same spot.”

    Bonnie Plants knows a thing or two about cabbage as the company sponsors one of the high points of my elementary teaching career, Bonnie’s 3rd grade cabbage program.

    By they way, your picture #2 with the toad is very nice. They are a great eater of garden pests yet very misunderstood with their wart fallacy.

  2. surprisesaplenty Says:

    Thanks, John.

    I think my in-laws engage in some crop rotation, although no field lies fallow. On all sides of this cabbage plot were rice fields.

    I greatly respect my father-in-law and any questions I offer here are more likely to reflect my own ignorance of his farming techniques. I wonder what exactly he thinks about fertilizer and pesticides. He sprays both without much (or any) protective gear and after helping with a few harvests, I definitely wash my vegetables with care before eating them now.

    Thanks for the compliment about the toad.

  3. John from Daejeon Says:

    Growing up on a farm, I know that we would not have survived without using fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides as the pest/weed problem was/is very severe. Also, a lot more people around the world would not have access to affordable food without these, “some say,” controversial, practices.

    And the only person in my life that I know of who ever had an adverse reaction to a herbicide was a young man who worked for one of the crop dusting/spraying companies my father used back around 1980. The young man accidently dropped his expensive watch into a large metal barrel containing a very strong and undiluted herbicide which leeched directly into a very large section of his unprotected arm and shoulder skin while he was fishing the watch out over 20-30 minutes. He might have been saved had he gone to the hospital right away (or even if he had washed his arm and shoulder off afterwards), but it took a long time for the symptoms to present themselves (days, I believe), and by then his major organs were too compromised for him to overcome his poisoning. I was actually sprayed once by a crop duster (they used dust in them olden days) with my uncle while we were out checking cotton fields for insect damage, but my uncle made sure we both thoroughly washed up immediately afterwards.

    On the other hand, I know of a lot of farm-related deaths that were attributed to machinery and grain silo accidents. It’s actually a miracle that no one in my immediate family was hurt badly or killed as there were a lot of close calls. And there were times that I easily could have hurt my brother when we were fighting on purpose, and he could have easily done the same to me. Even my non-farming cousin ended up with a bad farm-related injury when her hand got caught in a cotton bale threader (puts on the final cloth covering over deseeded, clean cotton bales) at the cotton gin and nearly lost several fingers, but luckily the surgeon was able to sew them back on at the hospital and remove the threads out of her hand.

  4. surprisesaplenty Says:

    We used to run along the rafters in my friend’s barn, playing tag. Boys on farms; how they make it to adulthood?

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