Friday, September 5, 2014

another surprise

By the way, this is the type of melon I recovered
after an unidentified critter had chewed through the stem.
The seed is from Seed Savers Exchange.
Their catalog is like...pie.

I planted many things for the first time this year, and sweetcorn is one example. It takes a lot of room (or so I thought before growing winter squash - hahahahahaha!) and it is a draw for wildlife I don't wish to encourage close to the house, including bear and raccoon. But this year, with my garden area enlarged a bit from last year, it seemed one block of corn would fit in the terrace garden with the 6' perimeter fence (as a slight discouragement to the wildlife), especially if I used the legendary "three sisters" method: planting pole beans, corn, and squash together, so the beans can grow up the corn stalks and the squash limits competition from other plants, sometimes known as "weeds."

Well, first of all, I won't do that planting again. Sisters they may well be, but if so, they seem very selfish and unkind sisters, taking every opportunity to elbow each other away from the buffet, and drag each other away from the window instead of simply sharing the view. Nope. From now on, the sisters will have their own rooms. I have enough drama with LeShodu, I don't need it from the vegetables.

The sweetcorn got a slow start (very cold wet weather), then grew quickly ("Why, you can watch the corn grow!"), then slowed right down (very hot dry weather) and finally produced small ears that didn't seem to fill out at all. I wondered if it was a lack of pollination due to the strange weather conditions, or if they hadn't received enough light. Or possibly they were exhausted from struggling to rise despite being throttled and pinned down by the beans. Oh well, it was an experiment and I was learning something. (Or re-learning something I should have known: vegetables are plants. Not "sisters." Plants. They compete to survive.)

This morning when I was doing my "Twister" routine (contorting my body as in the floor game, not emulating a tornado) in order to get through the winter squash rows, area, nation, I thought I might as well pick a tiny ear of corn and see if it would provide a clue to what had gone awry. Maybe insects had infiltrated and I would find an empty cob and a gaggle of disgusting worms? Ew.

Well, I'll be darned. Look at this:

Is that not the cutest and most perfect ear of corn you've ever seen?

It kind of reminded me of something...

I picked a few more ears.

Here's one for the knitters:
corn that makes its own short-row shaping!

I was so delighted by my surprising first corn harvest, I took lots of pictures.
This one is on the screenporch:

Then I carried the bowl outside to try different light,
because one does not wish
to do less than one's photographic best for one's sweetcorn.
Does one?

Five hens followed me hopefully, and every time I tried to set the bowl down - on a stone, on a stump, on the pedestal for the birdbath - they formed a tight circle around me and prepared to leap. I finally had to rest the bowl on an upright pallet, and snap quickly before they organized themselves to form a poultry pyramid, with the brilliant Jersey Black Giant mastermind on top.

I hope your day contains a lovely surprise.

And maybe a tasty one, as well.


  1. What perfect little ears of corn and I love that short-row shaping! Nature is so clever :) The worst wildlife we have to cope with here are slugs, so it's incredible to me that you have to plant to evade the bears and raccoons!

    1. Do you put out saucers of beer to capture the slugs? I'm picturing what could happen if I put out beer for the raccoons. It could be in bottles, in a latched cooler full of ice (for American raccoons) and they could get to the beer as long as a bottle opener is nearby. The image of inebriated raccoons...probably stealing my car...

  2. Id have been thrilled with them that size! and would have spent my hours hoping a baseball player ( well okay, kevin Costner then lol) might have waltzed out from them whilst growing lol
    (Field of Dream s film)

    1. Hahaha! Any athlete who waltzes out of my cornfield will be put to work immediately. I have fenceposts that need driving!

  3. You can dream! sounds as if Quinn might have a bear waltzing out from them, though. We have all kinds of wildlife, including black bears in late spring, amazing considering this is such a heavily populated state. Groundhogs -- one just excavated the patio across the street! raccoons, possums, squirrels, rats, chipmunks. The last are the most to be feared since one got into a friend's house and exploded her dishwasher by getting behind it and chewing on the live wires...poor little guy. And if a squirrel gets in you may as well call in the wrecking ball, worse than a human gang of vandals.

  4. Fabulous! Those seem to be just the perfect size, too. Thanks for the visual of the hen pyramid, too...always a smile on my face when I leave here. Happy Saturday, Quinn - XOXO

  5. Wow, congratulations on that corn! Looks fantastic!

    I have mixed feelings about the 3 sisters, I've learned that I have to wait to plant the beans (I plant cowpeas) until the corn is about 6 inches tall. I'd dearly love to have pumpkins or winter squash, but they've never done will with the corn and beans. This year I planted a pumpkin patch in the middle of the corn but at last check all the plants were dead with some tennis ball size pumpkins not making it. My cowpeas didn't do so well this year either, I think because I planted the corn closer together than usual.

    Anyway, interesting post!

  6. Oh my, that looks so sweet and good! Way to go!!!! Ahh, how I wish we could grow interesting and sweet stuff like you do, but our growing season is too short.

    I've been gone because my internet went out early last week. I am glad to catch up now!

  7. Glad to see you, KB! I hope your computer woes will be resolved soon!
    This year, for the first time since I lived in CO, I started a lot of seeds indoors weeks before the last frost date. Even so, it's going to be a race to see how many things can grow and ripen before The Cold. I've got many, many squash blossoms now, and a few tiny squash, but...well, fingers crossed. As usual ;)

  8. I'm loving the thought of a corn seeking poultry pyramid, but quite understand that you weren't. It feels like forever since I've eaten fresh corn, you've got me drooling just thinking about it!


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