The first red-letter day of late summer has come and gone: I've eaten my first ripe 'Brandywine' fresh off the vine, still warm from the sun. Now, I'm on pins and needles for the second red-letter event:
Sweet corn. (Picture me doing a Home Simpson-esque drool here.)
We planted two large blocks of sweet corn this year, as well as a few in our "Three Sisters" garden. The stalks are probably about eight feet tall, ears of corn are well-formed, and the silks are just starting to turn from whitish to golden yellowish-brown.
So far, we've been surprised to see our squirrel family ignoring the corn. Perhaps they prefer the tomatoes? At this point, I'm willing to sacrifice a few tomatoes as long as my corn remains unscathed. We did a few things this year that seem to be resulting in a very successful corn year:
- Plant densely. We planted in four by four blocks, with the plants approximately eight inches apart. This helps with maintaining adequate soil moisture, out-competing weeds, and achieving higher rates of pollenization.
- Speaking of pollinization, we also helped with that a bit by pulling a bit of pollen off of the tassels and sprinkling it on the emerging silks.
- We planted in a well-trafficked area. The corn patch is just outside of our living room window, between our house and our neighbor's driveway. The squirrels and other pests don't seem all that keen on hanging out in that spot between all the noise coming from the window and our neighbors coming and going in their driveway.
So, that's what's going on in my garden right now. I canned a couple jars of tomatoes yesterday, and will be doing more tomorrow. We have several freezer bags full of blanched beans and oven-dried tomatoes, and I'll be making some dilly beans and pickles pretty soon, too. What's going on in your garden?