Cabbage can be dangerous to your health

Updated: Sep 13, 2021

We have grown a large garden for many years. Our most successful crops are usually cabbage and peppers. Our cabbage plants with the large outer leaves usually grow about 3 feet across and the plants overlap each other. The heads are often the size of bowling balls.

Last week, I went out to pick a head of cabbage and went for the largest one I could find. To cut it, I had to push it over to the side and saw the thick stem to harvest it.

After cutting it off, I carried it about 30 feet to the compost pile so I could throw the large outer leaves into the pile before carrying it into the house.

As I pulled off the large leaf, I saw a small head poke up at me, a snake head.

My mind immediately registered the color and the design on the snake. The color was copperish and the design down its back was that of a copperhead.

I did notice that it was about the diameter of my little finger. It quickly registered that there was a lot of snake body tucked inside that cabbage leaf – meaning that I hadn’t just grabbed one snake but two. Or more.

I heaved the whole cabbage head onto the compost pile and walked quickly to the house to get my husband, Roger. I excitedly told him about the snake, or snakes, in the cabbage

When Roger went out to see the cabbage head, there was no sign of any snakes. I told him it was a copperhead, and he asked me if I had looked at its head to see what shape it was.

Are you kidding? Did I stop and look at the shape of the head?

I had seen enough! A quick Internet search yielded photos of baby copperheads. I mentally went through the checklist.

Copper color? Check. Dark bands down its back? Check. A yellow tail? Check. Head shaped like a pit viper? Don’t know, don’t care. Three outta four is proof enough for me!

We have a new division of labor in the garden now. It is based on height. I pick the pole beans, tomatoes and trellised cucumbers. Roger now picks the cabbages – and every other vegetable that's near or on the ground.

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