Monday, June 28, 2010

An Elephant's Eye

Summer is here, and so is garden blogging!

That's my corn, which looks like it will be yielding about 10 bushels by Labor Day. (Of course I can say that, since I have no idea how much a bushel actually is!)

This is the first time I've grown corn in about 12 years. Last time I tried it, I learned that you have to plant a bunch of corn seedlings in a grid plot. That's because corn is a wind pollinator, so the wheat-like pollen at the top has to blow down onto the silk tassels on the ears in order for the kernels to form.

I also learned that if you mist the tassels with a little oil (or Pam spray), it prevents those fat, nasty corn worms from growing in (and eating) your corn cobs. The tassels get slippery, and the worm eggs don't stick! Organic farming solutions: Gotta love 'em.

I'm also growing green beans (the star of last summer's garden), cucumbers (the clown of last year's garden), zucchini, sunflowers, three kinds of peppers and honeydew melon.

Tomatoes, you ask?

My tomatoes were disappointing last year. Low yields, mostly. This year's crop doesn't look much better, though one small fruit is starting to ripen. I do have some heirlooms planted, however, so I'm pinning my hopes on them.

The big addition this year is a blueberry bush that I picked up at the L.A. Arboretum garden show a month or so ago. You aren't supposed to be able to grow blueberries in Southern California, but this is a new variety developed for our hot summers and mild winters.

We'll see. So far, the ripening berries are pretty tart. If I leave them on the bush too long, they disappear. I fear that a raccoon is plucking them with his little prehensile fingers. A couple of my early zucchinis were severed from the vine, gnawed up and dumped in the dirt last week.

Anybody have organic farming critter control solutions?


  1. Not organic, but my grandma used to squeeze a sponge that had a bit of dish soap on it--
    btw--check your email!

  2. I had that same clown last year. Hope over experience, I'm trying again. My tomatoes are LADEN, but my lab is hungry. Zukes were killed by something, chopped down at soil level. Melons and pumpkins, so far so good. Nothing kills hot peppers. (I just will never try corn again, it was too depressing. I'll just enjoy your success from afar.)

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  4. I love this photo!

    I don't have solutions. I'm gardening vicariously through you.

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  6. I see chinese lettering comments... Is that the spam you are getting? I don't know how to stop that. You could change the setting where you approve every comment first, so it is not automatic.

  7. Steve, I don't know what those are, but I seem to get a lot of them. Anybody know?

  8. Thanks for your grandma's remedy, Desiree, I'll try that one!

    I've been out of town for a week, and do not see your email. Can you resend? Sorry!

  9. The Chinese lettering is probably spam. You can put it into a translator and see; it's usually porn or something you don't want to click on.

    I see you've set up word verification. That should stop it. The other thing to do is ignore it, which many bloggers do.

  10. Hmmmm ... corn chowder! I didn't even think of that in this 100+ weather - I don't know why! ;-)

    I may freeze some of this corn, so corn chowder may be in my fall future.