Sunday, August 16, 2009

Corn We Can Actually Eat

Good morning!
We are in the middle of the hottest weather we have had all summer here in NH-ninety degree temps not including the humidity. Did I complain earlier in the season about it being rainy and cold? I think I did. Hmmm. If the temps could just be somewhere in between,minus the humidity,that would be good. However, it's typical New England weather-"If you don't like it, wait a minute,and it will change."
Zach is back from Boy Scout camp and he had a BLAST! He is already planning what merit badges he wants to earn at camp next year. He was so sweet, he bought us presents at camp- a stuffed animal squirrel with a Camp Hinds T shirt on it for Rick and myself,and a rabbit pelt for Rick's brother,Brian. Now we have to come up with names for our squirrels. I named mine Squeaky. Rick's squirrel is going to be his trucks mascot,and he has not yet decided what to name it.
We were very excited to pick our first ears of corn on Friday before we went to pick Zach up at camp. I did take some photos the week before.

As you can see, we have a small section of corn. Our neighbor down the road has quite a green thumb and always has a nice garden. When he saw we had planted our corn in early May,he thought that we had made a mistake-it was too early,and the soil wasn't warm enough yet. Now we have stalks that are over 6 feet tall and his are nowhere near ready. We mixed our compost in the soil after we rototilled the space,and planted the corn in hills,not directly into the ground. I assume that made a difference with the soil temp. We also used some plant food to help give it a bit of a boost. You can see the bare hills above the weedy paths in between. Zach is there to show how tall some of the corn is.
In the past when we have attempted corn, we planted the seeds right into the ground,no compost or anything. Of course, we had never planted corn before then and hadn't done any research into what we were doing. We figured,just plant it,water it,and it should grow. Well, it sort of grew,but the stalks were very thin and sparse. The ears were small,the kernels undeveloped,and corn worms had settled in all our ears. So this time, we tried to be a bit smarter about it.

When these photos were taken,some of the silks had begun to darken. The day we picked them,they had darkened quite a bit. However, I didn't want to blindly pick the ears just in case. So, I checked my Country Wisdom and Living Guide. Any ears that had dark silk I pulled back the leaves and used my fingernail to poke a small hole into a kernel.Ah Ha! The fluid that came out was milky,not clear. That meant the ear was good to go. Rick and I picked seven ears total. Now, not all the kernels on the ears were fully developed-the ones by the ends of the ear were still real small, but we had seen that in ones sold in the supermarket,so it didn't worry us. Yesterday we cooked them,and I am very pleased to say,they were delicious!

Right now I also have three zucchini and one summer squash waiting to be eaten. I haven't had much luck with my summer squash-only that one so far. The wet weather has caused rot and the slugs have been hanging around. My tomatoes have not turned red yet. Next year we are going to forgo the straight line garden,and try square foot gardening in raised beds. I have started to read Mel Bartholomew's book,"All New Square Foot Gardening," and it seems like it will alleviate a lot of weed problems. It will also stop our carrots from mutating once they hit rocks. I an anxious to see how it works.

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