Thursday, July 5, 2012

Corn: Nature's Beanpole

First nations peeps from way back had it right with the holy trinity of crops: corn, beans and squash.  I probably mentioned in another post that this works really well for a few reasons:

1. Corn is natures beanpole! Last year we tried to build this thing for the beans to grow on that ultimately kept falling over.  So far the corn is providing a nice hearty stalk for the beans to climb.

2. The tangle of beans and squash around the base of the cornstalks is supposed to stop hungry animals from raiding the corn.

No evidence of animal intruders yet, but it's still early days.  In fact, there is no evidence of animal intruders anywhere in the garden this year.  Maybe it's the companion planting we did, or maybe it's the lack of skunk den next door.  Not sure.

Anyway the corn I *think* is ok.  Some of it is really tall, some of it is pretty short.  It all meets the "knee high by July" criteria.  Most if not all of it has tassels. ...And some of them are started to make corn.  I really feel like a farmer when I'm looking at the corn.

>The potatoes had me worried this week (well a lot of things did).  I didn't see many flowers the last few weeks and now they have started to die out, specifically the white potatoes down the middle.  However, chatting with my garden neighbor Steve last night, he assures me this is what they're supposed to do.  In the last two visits I've collected maybe 5 potatoes that are already poking out of the ground and I boiled some last night and yes, they were pretty delicious.  Very delicate, smooth texture, sweet and potato-y flavour.

Other things that have me worried are the cucumbers.  Second year in a row now they have done this routine where they look really great, start producing cucumbers and then waaaaaaaahhhh....dead.

They look kind of good in this picture, but as of last night they were looking pretty sorry.  We're thinking that maybe the variety we chose (both years) is more keen to just crawl along the ground rather than climb a trellis.  We may seek out some seeds this weekend.  I know it's super late so I don't have high hopes, but you never know right?  Now that the peas are gone there is some space.
 Things that aren't dying - the zucchini.  I read somewhere this week that zucchini is like a friend you're really happy to start up a friendship with at the beginning, until they begin obsessively stalking you to the point where you kind of just want to avoid it when you meet out in public.

I made chocolate zucchini cake this week where the zucchini was almost completely superfluous but I'm pretty sure it counts as a vegetable.

Shallots and onions and garlic are soooooo close to being done.  The shallots are probably the furthest along, as you can see they are looking almost dead.

I'm still not used to this whole "when the plant looks dead, the bulb is read" theory.

Many onions.

The peppers are really really leafy, which I think is good.  One plant already has 3 peppers on it and I counted about 6 jalapenos.

 Chard for days.  I think the pak choi is done though which is ok, it's kind of a lot to eat.

We finally gave up on the old roma and planted three new ones.  They're not looking nearly as hearty as anything we've had before.  They were looking pathetic at the garden center so I'm kind of not really expecting much, which kind of sucks because I was kind of looking forward to them the most.

We're still waiting on the frisee...I checked and the inside is starting to get nice and tender but I'm really not sure when to tell if it's done.  I think soon though.

And lastly, the watermelon has flowers on it which you can't see from this photo but that means it won't be too long before we have some delicious summer watermelons.

Below are two shots of the garden from both angles.

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