Thursday, June 30, 2011

So Ugly but So Sweet

The main reason I am not fond of growing wong bok in winter is that it is a place where baby snail and slugs make as their hiding place. It won't be easy to search each layer of wong bok compact leaves for them especially near the plant base as it grows bigger. I have always imagine that the wong bok we grown is the type which will form compact barrel head. Apparently after 3 seasons attempts at growing this variety it seems not so. 
The wong bok seeds that we have bought, sowed and nurtured usually just form a flat head. At early growth stages the leaves are very prickly. I am thinking that the wong bok seeds are not true type but has been hybridised with other varieties. We have already sowed it in different seasons but the results are always the same.
So many type of pests feasting on wong bok.
Only one plant managed to form a barrel shape but it is still loose not compact. I wanted to wait more but I saw sign that it is going to bolt soon. So this week, we planned to harvest all of them growing on this area. These wong bok has also look very ugly, badly eaten by the pest. Nobody wants to buy them if it is on the market rack.
Here how it actually looks before harvest.
Badly eaten by those pests. Nothing has been sprayed on the vegetables this winter.
You will find caterpillars, snail or slug each layer of the leaves. Not only that caterpillar poo too.
I had a difficult time washing them clean.
But throw them away we did not.
Our wong bok look disgustingly ugly but it was the sweetest wong bok we ever eaten in our life.
The true wong bok flavour we tasted not like the bland taste from the shops.
If your vegetables look like this, would you eat it or throw them away?
I wish I can make kimchi with our wong bok harvest.
But it has been such a busy month, I could not find the time yet.
I need a really simple recipe to make kimchi.
If the weather permits this weekend, those wong bok will be replaced with cauliflower seedlings.

22 comments:

Sunray Gardening said...

Have you thought about growing it in containers where the insects could not get to them? I think that is what I would try next year.
Cher Sunray Gardens

Cat-from-Sydney said...

MKG dear,
My Mama sprayed a concoction of water and crush garlic on our Asian greens and cauliflower when we were growing them in Sydney. Somehow they work. Oh, she also used white oil spray especially on daun limau purut. Those caterpillars just love those sweet smelling citrus leaves. purrr....meow!

Robin said...

I would eat it. It doesn't have to look pretty to taste good!!

thyme2garden said...

I agree with Robin. Although it's always nice to grow pretty vegetables, I do think that flavor trumps looks. I didn't know what wong bok was, but a quick google search told me that it's a variety of napa cabbage, as we know them in the US. Thanks for introducing me to yet another vegetable name!

Patricia said...

When I complain about such pests...my husband smirks and says "protein!" This happens to my swiss chard sometimes and I just wash it and eat it.

Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

We eat ugly fruit and vegetables too.

If you grow things that slugs and snails like in a container smear some Vaseline (petroleum jelly) around the pot. Slugs and snails won't cross it but I guess it won't stop the caterpillars. What sort is that fat green one?

Mark Willis said...

I consider myself lucky, in that I do not have a major problem with slugs and snails. The only crop that I have had completely destroyed by them was some "Chinese Leaves" type oriental cabbage. The slugs just ripped it to shreds! Unless something is very badly affected I will use it. Once you shred the cabbage or Wong Bok or whatever ready for cooking you won't be aware of how ragged it was.

Daphne said...

It depends. If I had an over abundance of a crop, then I'm picky. If I don't, I eat it all. But I don't like to eat anything with caterpillars in them because they are too hard to miss when I clean them. That is why I grow them under row covers. I still have to deal with slugs, but at least I can see the brown slugs on a leaf.

JGH said...

It reminds me of that old joke
"Waiter, there's a fly in my soup"
"Don't worry, he won't eat much"

I harvested some cabbage leaves that looked like that earlier this week. I washed the caterpillar spit off holes, then cut them in strips and stir fried. Nobody knew what they looked like when they were picked!

rainfield61 said...

That's organic!!

We are always perceived by appearance.

Malar said...

MKZ; I prefer to eat this than the beautiful one! I wonder how much pesticide used!

milka said...

The reason why i don't grow much leaf veggie is also because of they attract so much pest. Very geli ah.... I will giveaway to those who don't mind. No waste ma.

Stephanie said...

You see, there are people who only know this kind of vege. Once, I was in Cambodia at a remote small town. The veges they sell has more holes than yours - more hole space than green!! We ate them and still alive now ;-)

shaz said...

They look beautiful to me ;) Big, green and juicy, no wonder the slugs and snails love them. I read a gardening tip somewhere, of how this guy placed plastic bread clips around the plants, and he thought that they looked like white cabbage butterflies. Apparently, the real butterflies didn't land because they thought there were others there already. Take this with a pinch of salt, but who knows, it just might work :) Happy weekend gardening!

Leovi said...

Nice pictures. I love this magnificent green.

tina said...

Boy I hate those slubs and snails. They can wreak some damage.

catmint said...

I think that is the beauty of growing your own. It is the taste not the look that is important.

p3chandan said...

I will eat them even though they are ugly but I will definitely wash them very throughly just in case any of those pests end up in my vegetable soup!

Jody said...

I'd eat vegetables that look like that in a second, because they tell me that you've not been using pesticides. I'm willing to share my food with the bugs any time! As long as they're not to greedy.

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Cher~I tried growing wong bok in container before but the snail and slug still managed to hide in between the leaves. They do grow well in container.

Cat-from-Sydney~I used to spray with garlic or chillies before but this year I simply have not find the time to do it :).

Robin~I guess if the pest is really persistant, it must be sweet.

thyme2garden~I was confius as well when I read blog from US about napa cabbage. But now I know wong bok and napa cabbage is the same family in Chinese cabbage :).

Patricia~Green caterpillars if you squash it, they come out green liquids which is actually from all the greens they ate. Maybe its like eating green if we accidently ate them...hehehe...

Sue~Nice tip will try them. That is white cabbage butterfly babies. That is the common caterpillar we see in our garden. But in summer we saw a few brown ones which is some moth species. But it only hangs out on fruit trees so we don't mind them very much. But I do get very annoyed with the fat green one.

Mark~I usually use them in stir-fry noodles and rice so no one knows that it is actually a very ragged vegetables.

Daphne~I think we had many incident of missed very small caterpillars in cooked Asian greens. But I usually kept that a secret from the other dining members:).

JGH~Good old joke! Its not an easy task to convince people that the ones with holes are much better to have.

Rainfield61~Yes, once upon a time we were thought to pick only pretty veggies laden with chemical fertiliser and pesticide. Now we knew that the one with many holes are safer to digest.

Malar~Me too, Too me beautiful veggies makes me alarm ticking. I don't trust them anymore.

Milka~Imagine the caterpillar that eat your veggies will turn to a beautiful butterfly. A beutiful butterfly is eating your beautiful vegetables even with holes because that is the most best type of vegetables.

Stephanie~The remote people are much more clever yeah. They have the advantage of growing more food on their land.

Shaz~I heard about that too. Never have the chance to tried it yet. But I don't think I can my boys will only try to pick them and trample all the seedlings.

Leovi~They are magnificently healthy and sweet.

Tina~Yeah. They can do damage in just one night.

Catmint~I think taste is much more important than looks. Looks can be decieving. You never know how beauty looks have to be maintain in the process.

p3chandan~I found washing vegetables sometime can be a relaxing chore.

Jody~At the moment, I don't mind sharing some with them since we still have other greens to harvest. But the snail and slug has been behaving good this year. They seem to understand which are the greens that we don't mind as sacrifice and which is aren't.

Sue@G.L. Allotments said...

It looked very big and fat for a small white but m,maybe it was difficult to judge the scale. We have two butterflies that we call cabbage whites. The small and large white butterflies. At least the small white lay single eggs the large white lays cluster which hatch into stripy feeding machines. I made a video of this on my web site here It's about halfway down the page

Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Sue~ Ours are the small ones and they lay single eggs.It is strange that caterpillar can grow much bigger in size compare to the parents.