Friday, July 23, 2010

Growing Corn (Part II) and a Morning Harvest

Yes, I have to take pictures. They will come!

But, I wanted to share what I read up on corn. (This is the first time I've ever grown corn, so I find this info fascinating!) The flowers on the tops of the corn plants have the pollen that needs to fertilize the corn so that the corn develops the yummy juicy kernels on the ears. Well, for the fertilization to occur, the pollen needs to fall onto the tassels.

And to tell when the corn is ready to be picked, you look at the color of the tassels...the turn from whitish to reddish to dark red/brown. Most of my corn tassels are at the reddish stage. And I did kinda cheat...I cut some of the flowers and hand-pollinated all the corn tassels I could find. (hey, I want to make sure I get SOME corn out of this :-) ).

Also, normally you drop some mineral oil on the tassels to prevent worms from getting into the corn and eating it, but I haven't done that. I'm hoping they leave most of my corn alone. Since we don't eat too much corn, I may not grow this again, but it was truely interesting to see, since I've never saw corn grow before. Instead of corn next year, maybe pumpkin, winter squash or potatoes...

This morning, I decided to make my garden rounds since I haven't done that in over 24 hours. I was able to harvest quite a few things...first was 3 of the 4 apples growing on our small 4-in-1 apple tree. this apple is the early summer apple. I probably could have picked them a few weeks earlier, but I wanted them to become really red all around. The largest 3 were at that stage, so I picked them. I still have to taste them, probably tonight.

I also harvested 2 zucchini, my first 2 cucumbers (yum!) and it doesn't seem like there are any other cucumbers anywhere near close to picking, so I have to savor these. And I also picked some lettuce for our sandwiches for lunch.

Another exciting thing I saw this morning were small globes of charantais melon starting to develop! this is another first for me...kinda reminds me of the watermelons I grew 2 summers ago. I hope I get some to eat. I'd like to see what all the hype is about on these melons...

Thursday, July 15, 2010


The following pictures are of my Golden Bantam Cross corn taken this evening...

Here is what my corn plants look like this evening. The parts sticking straight up on the corn stalks are the flowers. They need to be pollinated for the corn kernels to grow plump (from what I understand). Wind is the main pollinator, which explains why corn plants need to grow so tall.

Here are the flowers up close. the purplish/reddish parts look like they are actually hanging on by a thread and they all do the shimmy in the wind.

I have about 4 corn tassels sprouting out of growth coming from the sides of the corn stalk. So far, at most, I see 2 ears of corn on one stalk being produced.

Corn (part II) and Lettuce

You can see the tassels from the new corn coming out...woohoo....i may get some corn this year!

Here are some lettuce leaves I harvested this year. yum! I read that if you pick lettuce leaves and some milky substance oozes from where the leaf was torn off, the lettuce is bitter-tasting, but although some of my lettuce had this, it still tasted pretty good.

Growing Corn

This is the first year I have attempted to grow corn. The type I am growing is Golden Bantam Cross, I believe. It has been amazing to watch this grow! The flowers have shot out from the top a few days ago, and just yesterday afternoon, I saw the tassels show itself atop 4 growths that will soon be corn! I just hope the pollination goes well so the kernels grow nice and plump!

Yes, I do have to take pictures!

One error I made, tho, was planting a lot of heavy feeders in that plot. Not only do I have about 12 stalks of corn plants in the small area, I also have about 4 charantais melon plants around it as well. I thought they could take the place of squash to cover the ground. The melon plants do this well, but from what I understand, melons are heavy feeders too. I have some bean plants planted around the perimeter, but next time, I should stick with squash around corn plants and make sure that I amend the soil very well where corn will grow.

I'm not saying that my corn plants look unhappy, but just knowing that they are heavy feeders, I could've done more to help this soil. I will definitely be growing some peas/favas and some over cool cover crops over the winter. I better look into that now so I have it on hand when the time comes.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Maintaining and Planning

I only have 2 more seedings that need to eventually be placed somewhere in the garden. It looks either like melon or squash seedlings (I was terrible at labeling!) and the BIG question is where to put them...But that's the fun part.

The rest of my garden is currently in a state of keeping maintained - weed out the small weeds (big weeds have been happily eradicated), water, prune, harvest, fertilize. repeat.

Sluggo has single-handedly kept the slug and snail population around my veggies way, way down. i rarely see them anywhere near my vegetables. if i do, they are promptly removed and disposed of. The only place where slugs and snails are immune to my wrath (unless i have a bad day) is in the compost pile. They actually help with creating the great fertile compost, so I let them be.

My corn plants are currently only about 4 feet tall, but they are starting to deploy their seed stalks. I thought that was odd and premature. Is this normal? Is my soil only going to allow 4 - 5 foot stalks of corn? I expected them to tower over me. well, i'm definitely okay with the manageable height...i just hope the taste of these corn will not be negatively effected by it. First time corn grower here, so its really a corn growing experiment for me.

Another experiment in the garden - Charantais melon. i've never grown melons. And so far, i believe the experiment is proving successful. they are starting to sprawl and show their first flowers! they look a lot like cucumber flowers - small, dainty yellow flowers. i hope i get to try some melons this year!

I've got about 3 - 4 different bean varieties growing throughout the garden, plus 3 different kinds of soybeans. They help build the nitrogen in the soil so i just kinda scattered them all over the place. EXCEPT for the tomato bed. I read in a few places that they don't really like each other. (how can they NOT like beans??) I want to plant more seeds for beans this weekend...i'll have to soak them tonight so they are ready (i find that they sprout faster after a good soak in water).

For the second part of that title ... "Planning"... I have been thinking about what to grow near the end of the summer. I've ordered a lot of greens and lettuce seeds (some asian varieties). I also want to plant some peas and fava beans for soil building. ooh, maybe some broccoli. but for some reason i really have a bad track record of growing broccoli from seed. i think i water them too much. and i don't use a seed starting mix, just because i don't want to spend more than i already do for this garden - otherwise the benefits of growing this garden will be slim in terms of saving money. :-/