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.