July 05, 2010
We’ve had good corn growing years, and we’ve had not-so-good corn growing years in our small urban space. Two years ago, we were gorging ourselves on delicious, home-grown cobs. Ironically, we hadn’t even planned to grow it that year. I simply ended up with leftover starts that we tucked into open spots in the parking-hellstrip. And, bam! We were enjoying sweet corn right off the stalk daily for weeks. We had so much of it, we froze much and enjoyed it throughout the winter. Then, last year, our corn was fit for feeding pigs — what little we harvested.
Because we live in a small urban setting and because we rotate crop locations, it takes some finesse to create a good corn growing spot each year. Last year we had a fairly good spot for the corn, but the stalks, despite being planted at the same time, simply didn’t mature together – with some started early in the greenhouse and a second round direct seeded into the ground later in spring. The plants bolted quickly in the early and incredible heat. Tassles and silks simply didn’t have their timing down, and the end result was stumpy, chewy, starchy cobs — and very few of them at that. I should have let them dry for the birds in winter.
There could be something to say for the varieties of corn I selected. But, I can’t attribute all the success to just the variety. In 2008 and in 2009 we grew F-1 Sugar Pearls. Each year they came from different sources and performed with very mixed results. So what about this year? (more…)
June 23, 2010
Everyone has their tolerance level. Whether we’re talking how many weeds you’ll put up with in the garden or how many colors you’ll allow in your palette, there’s a level for everyone.
Today as I was working in my garden, I breathed a sigh of relief as I cleared away some of the ugliness I tolerate in the garden. And, I cheered for some of the beautiful results produced as a result of my tolerance for ugliness. I present these photos for your consideration. Tell me, what would you tolerate?
First, consider growing in a broccoli in a garden visited throughout the growing season by brassica pest known as cabbage moth (really a butterfly). To protect it, I choose to cover it with floating row cover. This cover makes it impossible for the adult butterflies to lay their eggs on my delicious broccoli, which their caterpillar generation munches voraciously. The row cover interrupts the beauty of the overall garden design. But…
…a peek under the hood reveals big, delicious broccoli without caterpillar damage…no pesticide required! Dinner anyone?
After taking a peek at my drool-worthy broccoli, I decided to explore a few other eyesores in the garden. Having just passed solstice, we’re already on the slow march to winter. Shorter days are already happening. Cool season crops are under scrutiny for harvest. Warm season crops are beginning to make headway. It’s sometimes a juggle to stay on top of it all.
I decided today’s 75F weather was enough inspiration to dismantle the hoop houses around this year’s 3-Sister’s+ garden. I add the “+” because this bed not only contains the corn, squash and bean components of a 3-Sister’s garden, but it also has chard, lettuce, sunflowers, onions and marigolds. One area is also a bit overrun with lime thyme, but the bees love it. Once they flock to that favored flower, they’re likely to take a peek at the other flowers nearby — like the squash and beans! (more…)
May 03, 2010
Last year I endeavored to grow a gourd in hopes of creating birdhouses and water dippers and other fun crafts from the fruit.
As it turned out, I had very mixed success with birdhouse gourds.
I began by planting seed purchased from Irish Eyes. I planted about a dozen in sterile soil in the greenhouse, and only one germinated. I coddled that baby along until it was warm enough to move it out in the garden where I planted it to grow along the wire fence mixed with scarlet runner beans, sweet pea, and butternut squash vines. A vision of loveliness, I imagined. And, truly, the combo was beautiful and fragrant and somewhat rewarding. But, I won’t be growing the gourds again.
Read on to learn about the on-going rewards that came from growing this plant as well as why I don’t intend to grow them again. (more…)
January 01, 2010
It’s New Year’s day, which means there’s a lot of football on the tv and not a lot happening in our household. I like my first day of the year to start slow.
On a lazy, indoor day like this, when rain is flying in 25+mph winds and our hoop houses threaten to fly away, I can get lost for hours reading through seed catalogs, reviewing past year’s plans, successes and failures, and fine-tuning my future edible garden programs. And, that’s exactly what I did today. And I’m glad I did. Monday, I’ll call in my seed orders, and by the time I return from an early January visit with family on the East coast, my 2010 seed should be here just in time for my first indoor seed date of January 25, 2010. Yep — that’s when the brassica (and other seeds) first get sown indoors under lights with a bit of supplemental bottom heat. I have to wonder – are you ready?
October 30, 2009
If you’re still wondering when to harvest those winter squash and pumpkins, you’re not alone. Knowing when to harvest winter squash can be a stumper!
Our Gardenhelp.org readers have written in more than once to ask when to harvest their squash and pumpkins. (If you are reading this posting on any website than gardenhelp.org or said networked blog, know that this content has been stolen without permission. Please redirect to gardenhelp.org here.)
Most of winter squash are off the vine and stored in my root cellar by now, but my butternut is still struggling with one last fruit, so my vine is still going on the day before Halloween. It’s going to be a small squash, but every edible is worth the wait!
Read more to learn when to harvest your winter squash (and sneak a peek at the Peanuts gang celebrating the return of their favorite pumpkin as well):