Growing Corn Successfully in SeattleSeptember 03, 2008
On a whim, I bought some corn starts at a local nursery for a few clients. Most went to the clients, but a few were on the verge of going to waste, so when we cleaned out and renovated our parking strip disaster earlier this year, my husband and I put in the corn in the intermittent empty spaces.
The parking strip gets great sun all day. To the west is the street, so it also gets a lot of hot reflected late day heat. We did put in a drip irrigation system for the parking strip this year after tiring of the unpredictable, clogged, recycled soaker hoses we’d had in for several years (we’d gotten the hoses from a neighbor who’d used them for several years before us & then gave them away on Craigslist, so they’d done their duty). Still, we gave the parking strip very little supplemental watering as the drip system is still on hose bibs, and we’re a little lazy about pulling the hose out to the parking strip. Still…
The corn did amazing! In a year when so many Seattle vegetables are languishing from a late start to summer and then an early arrival of cold, wet autumn-like weather in August, the corn has put on a great performance. Cabbage, green beans, lettuce, kale, chard, sorrel and other leafy greens are also performing well…along with slugs, pill bugs, cabbage loopers, and other veg-garden destroyers. Tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, peppers, and other heat lovers are still a bit sad. But, they’re limping along. The heat predicted for the rest of this week will help…as will some time in the greenhouse!
We picked a few ears of the corn about a week ago, and I was thrilled with how well formed the ears were. All seemed to have been pollenated quite well. Two of the three ears we harvested were still very young, but that meant they were sweet if small. Tonight I’ll grab a few more. The trick is to harvest before the urban wildlife starts making the corn into their meals. Crows, rats, squirrels, starlings, earwigs, and other animal life will start snacking on the corn if we don’t get to it first! I’m in love with a recipe in The Herbal Kitchen by Jerry Traunfeld for Corn, Basil, Orzo salad. Since I thought to keep my basil in the greenhouse rather than force it to try to brave our crazy not-summer-like summer weather, I actually have a lot of basil this year, so tasty salads here I come! I even have a purple basil that looks fantastic blended with the yellows of the orzo and the corn. Okay, now I’m hungry…time to see if any ears are ready for my vegetable harvest basket!
And, I’m looking forward to all the dried stalks making fun Halloween decorations next month…Geez! Did I just admit that Halloween is next month? Where do the summer days go?!