Sunday, May 11, 2014

Planting Corn

I like to get my first batch of corn in early. But corn won't germinate until the soil is 50F (10C)and it won't germinate well until the soil is 60F (15C). If you look at the thermometer you will see it is an old milk thermometer that I repurposed for the garden. Right now the soil is 54F and our weather is predicted to be hot for the next two days. I'm hoping that is enough to get the corn started well. The temps will drop after that, but nighttime temps will mostly stay above 50F so the soil should keep warming up.

I plant my corn in a two sisters bed. I put three seeds a foot apart for the middle five feet of each bed. I'll thin to the strongest seedling. I used two 4'x 8' beds that are right next to one another as you see above. So if all goes well I'll have 80 corn plants in these two beds. Early planted corn can be fickle though. It doesn't always germinate well. I'm trying a new variety, Honey Select, and I don't know how well it does in cool soils.

Though I haven't planted them yet, I will plant squash at the ends of each bed. And I'll train the squash to grow under the corn. I've found this keeps the raccoons out of the corn very well. I've seen racoons in the garden when the corn was ripe and I've never lost an ear. And the last thing I want to do is attract racoons this year as rabies is going through the town's population.

The corn bed is in Bed 1 this year, which is right next to the fence by our driveway. Last year I planted two currents here and I was happily surprised to see that they were in bloom. This one is Pink Champagne which is supposed to be less sour than the red ones. I also have two red currents. One on the other end of the same fence. And one that I'm trying to train up and across the fence on the other side of the garden. I don't know if I'll succeed in the espalier, but it will look really cool if I do.

Before I went in for the morning I picked some more lettuce for my salads. They seem to be giving me almost enough to have salad every day at lunch time. So I'm happy with that.

And the radishes are getting bigger. I get a few each day of these too. I'm getting pretty excited over eating fresh from the garden again. I don't have much yet, but I am getting more now.

I do have one issue with the garden though. Bed 2 has one 4'x 8' section that was going to be dried beans. I've decided not to grow dried beans this year because I think I can't eat them anymore. If it ends up that I can, it will be easy to buy dried beans. I'm replacing one of my dried bean beds with more corn and squash. But the other I haven't decided what should go there. Maybe I should grow some parsnips? I've never grown them before. If I do, do I need to protect them from the carrot fly which is so bad around here? And what else should I grow? I keep debating. Maybe I'll grow a few beets for my townhouse mates. I hate beets, but they like them. Should I start more celeriac (also a new plant I'm growing this year). It is a good winter keeper. Variety for the winter is always good.


  1. Well, I hope you have better luck than me with the Celeriac. I tried it 3 years in a row and never got it to grow above the size of a tennis-ball. What about Leeks? Do you grow / have you tried them? Or Swede Turnips? Both of these are very hardy and good for Winter growing.

  2. Uhoh, rabies? I haven't seen any raccoons yet, but that's good to know.

    1. Yup three people have already been bitten in town.

    2. How does the squash keep the raccoons away? They are so inventive, I am guessing it is a repellent of some sort, smell or whatever.

    3. The racoons hate the prickles on their feet. Or at least that is what I've read.