“Could I over one of my beans?” asked Mab.
“Well, you might, but it would have to be a very long and thin bottle, for a bean is that shape when it has grown as large as it will ever get. So I don’t believe I’d try it, if I were you. Ill let you each have one of my pickles to grow inside a bottle.”
Hal and Mab thought this would be fun so they found other bottles with which to do the funny trick of making cucumbers grow inside the glass.
“I wish Daddy would give a prize for the funniest shaped cucumber,” said Mab, when she had fixed her bottle with a pickle inside it.
“Maybe he will,” spoke her brother. “We’ll ask him.”
But when Daddy Blake came home that evening he had a package in his arms, and the children were so interested about what might be in it that they forgot to ask for the cucumber prize.
“What are you going to do now?” asked Mab.
“I’m going to take you and Hal down to the garden and show you how to set out cabbage plants,” said Daddy Blake.
“But we’ve got some cabbage plants!” cried Hal.
“Yes, I know. But these are a kind that will get a head, or be riper, later in the Fall. This is Winter cabbage that we will keep down cellar, and have to eat when there is snow on the ground, for cabbage is very good and healthful. We can eat it raw, or made into sauer-kraut or have it boiled with potatoes. We must save some cabbage for Winter and that is the kind I am going to plant now.”
“And may we help?” asked Mab.
“Yes, come on to the garden.”
Daddy Blake had asked Uncle Pennywait, that day, to smooth off a plowed and harrowed place ready for the cabbage plants to be put in that evening, and the long rows, dug in the brown soil, were now waiting.
“Where did you get the cabbage plants?” Mab wanted to know. “Did you grow them in a little box down at your office, Daddy, as we did the tomatoes here?”
“No, Mab, not quite that way, though I might have done that if I had had room. I bought these cabbage plants in the market on my way home. Some farmers, with lots of ground, plant the cabbage seed early in the spring in what are called ‘hot-frames.’ That is they are like our tomato boxes only larger, and they are kept out of doors. But over the top are glass windows, so the cold air can not get in. But the warm sun shines through the glass as it did through our tomato box, and soon the cabbage seeds begin to sprout.
“Then the plants grow larger and larger, until they are strong enough to be set out, as the tomatoes were. In this way you can grow the vegetables better than if you waited until it was warm enough to put the seed right out in the garden, and let the plants grow up there from the beginning. Putting the seeds in the hot frame gives them a good start. Now we’ll set out the cabbage plants, and you may both help.”
Daddy Blake gave Hal and Mab each a small handful of the little cabbage plants, some of which had two and others three light green leaves on. There were also small roofs, with a little wet dirt clinging to them, from where they had been pulled out of their early home in which they first grew.