Tag Archives: corn
As mild as this winter has been, it’s still been winter! Don’t get me wrong – I’ve greatly enjoyed our -4° instead of our -40° weather – but veggies & fruit won’t grow in -4° any more than -40°. (Well, except for haskap…. but that’s not the point.) The point is that I’m getting anxious for spring as I assume many of you are. I’ve order my seeds long ago and I’m ready to get planting. However, the time is not yet upon us for such things, even though technically, I guess, it’s not ever too early to figure out how to prepare your garden for spring.
So in the meantime, I thought I’d look back at a few of the photos I took last autumn to remind myself of what I have to look forward to. The first is a photo of my prized pumpkin. I only got one this year – that’s why it’s so prized! This baby became pumpkin pie. And pumpkin pie. And pumpkin pie. And more pumpkin pie. (I can think of no greater purpose for a veggie!… or a melon… or whatever a pumpkin is classified as…)
Another highlight of my garden this year was the corn! Man, did we get corn! Not only did the kids love “exploring in the corn”….
We also enjoyed eating lots and lots of beautiful peaches and cream corn on the cob!
The kids also enjoyed the wildlife that came through this year. We had an ABUNDANCE of ladybugs…
And a we had our first visit by a salamander. This little fellow was living under our composting lettuce heads.
And of course, we took time to stop and smell the flowers.
Well, I’m afraid all that reminiscing didn’t pacify my longings for spring. In fact, perhaps, it even intensified them a little. But as I look outside, I see the sun shining and the snow melting – and I know that, while it’s not here quite yet – spring is indeed coming. And I shall be ready for it!
I don’t think I have ever experienced a summer in Alberta when, by the 20th of August, we still have not experienced a 30° day. It’s been cool and wet. And frankly, I’m ok with that. 23° is warm enough for me. But I wasn’t sure my garden would agree. I thought for sure with all this cool, wet weather, my plants would stop growing and start rotting. And indeed, when I picked my beans last week, there were lots of pods that were just rotting away on the plant. But in spite of that, I still picked a bumper crop of beans. And my peas have done better this year than they have since I moved here. And the corn! Well, let me just show you the corn…
So what’s been your experience with all this wet, cool weather (if you’re in Alberta)? Has it been a good year?
Finally the snow has melted and the forecast no longer has overnight frosts. Time to get gardening! I’m currently in the early stages of landscaping our new yard, and there is an area on the east side of the house that I haven’t figured out just what to do with it yet. So, for this year I’ve decided to plant a mini corn field. I’ve always wanted to have a corn field, but until moving east to where we are now, I was always too close to foothills to have enough heat for corn.
In 2008 I experimented with inter-planting beans and corn. It worked so well that I tried it again in 2009. I had my best corn ever that year, so I’m going to do it again this year. So in my little 24′ x 24′ plot on the east side of my house, I have planted Supersweet Northern Extra corn in rows spaced two feet apart. I planted two seeds every two feet. Then in between corn seeds, I have planted a variety of beans – Purple Royalty, Roma II , Straight N’ Narrow, Scarlet Runner Pole Beans, and even Dark Red Kidney Beans!
So there’s my field of beans and corn. Hopefully, both will grow nicely and produce lots. But if not, they should at least make for an interest way to fill the yard until I can properly landscape it!
After quite a bit of reading about companion planting, last spring I decided to try it.
Exactly what is companion planting, you ask? Companion planting is simply the process of planting different plants together that mutually benefit from having each other around. Native Americans used to do this with their corn, pole beans, and squash. They would make little mounds and plant several corn in the center. As the corn grew they would plant beans and squash around it. The corn provided the poles for the beans, the beans provided the nitrogen for the soil, and the squash acted as a mulch – preventing weeds and retaining moisture.
So I decided to give it a try – though not exactly as the natives did. I planted my corn in a block about 25 feet long and six feet wide with two feet between stalks. The corn was double planted and I planted two regular bush-type beans between the corn stalks. In the end, it looked like this…
Yesterday I picked the beans. When I compared the beans planted with the corn, they were much bigger than the same beans planted elsewhere in the garden. I was impressed. Companion planting does indeed work! So next year I thing I might try a few more combos.
Try These In Your Garden
Onion – plant with parsley to keep away onion fly
Celery – plant with cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower to deter butterflies (grows well with beans, tomatoes, and leeks)
Asparagus – plant with tomatoes, parsley, or basil
Swiss Chard – plant with cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, lettuce, or herbs – do not plant with string beans
Beets – plant with kohlrabi, carrots, cucumber, lettuce, onions, cabbage, broccoli, or cauliflower – do not plant with string beans, dill, or fennel
Brussels Sprouts – plant with onions
Cabbage – plant with herbs, onion, garlic, peas, celery, potatoes, or beets
Kohlrabi – plant with beets or onions
Peppers – plant with basil, okra, or tomatoes
Cucumber – plant with corn, sunflowers, peas, beans, beets, or carrots
Pumpkin & Squash - Plant with corn, peas, or beans
Carrot – Plant with onions, annual flowers, lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, or peas – do not plant with anise and dill
Lettuce – Plant with cucumbers, onions, radishes, carrots, or dill (dill protects them from aphids)
Tomato – Plant with basil, parsley, and asparagus or French marigolds (French marigolds deter whiteflies)
Bean – plant with celery, corns, cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower or melons
Peas – plant with beans, root crops, potatoes, or corn
Radish – Plant with peas or lettuce
Potato – plant with corn, cabbage, beans, or marigolds
Spinach – plant with beans, peas, corn, and strawberries
Corn – Plant with beans, peas, sunflowers, cucumbers, squash, melons, and potatoes
Today I planted some corn. I’ve never planted corn as indoor seedlings before, but after attending the Veggie Basics Course held by Alberta Agriculture, I’m thinking that a three week head start on the season might just be what my corn needs. Why? Because for the last two years this is about all I got…
Just nice looking plants. Not much to eat though. So after Jennifer from www.alibisrandom.blogspot.com reminded me that it is “only three more weeks until garden time”, I decided it was time to start some corn.
I had planned on one large corn patch of two varieties, but after reading a little about corn, I discovered that you may not get the kind of corn you want if you plant two varieties. In order to stay true to the variety of corn you plant, different varieties must be at least 100 ft. apart (so they say). I have two garden patches this year, so if I plant corn in the farthest edges of the two, they’ll end up being about 60 ft apart. So that’ll have to do. If it isn’t far enough – well, hopefully the corn I’m starting now will be finished pollinating before the later corn is ready to begin. And if that still doesn’t work out, maybe I’ll get funny corn. Either way, it’s worth a try.
So the variety that I’m planting today is ‘Fleet Bi-color’. Its very early for corn – just 59 days. If I’m calculating right, that should give me corn on July 26th. Hmmm, I’m not sure I’m that optimistic.