Thursday, June 23, 2011

Corn experiment, year 2

We reached back to the American colonial past last week, and put in a corn patch.
It's tricky growing corn up here, since the average temperature can be low.  But several other homesteads in Ripton have successfully grown corn (some have failed), so we wanted to give it a try.

That's actually "another try", since we managed a tiny yield from last year's first corn-growing experiment.  I (Bryan) did nearly everything wrong then, too, which heartens us now.  Then I made a single, long row, instead of the grid or circle pattern necessary for cross-fertilization.  I failed to amend the soil (remember the Native American fish story?).  The soil was poor, too.  And I didn't make any anti-bird defenses.  But some small ears resulted, which makes us think we can do better this time.

We all eat corn, too.  Especially important with Owain's celiac.

So we created a new plot between the mulchy potatoes and the broccoli, using a patch of lawn and the ground exposed once we tore down the rotting, inherited wooden playstand.  Rather than digging up the soil, we went no-till, hauling in many many buckets of soil from the goat enclosure.  That's the special soil, generously amended by years of chickens and goats, er, sharing their goodness.

We built four beds of this black soil, each about 4-6" tall, and around six feet long, separated by one-foot-wide walkways (we'll fill in those paths with soil as the plants grow).  Ceredwyn sowed a lot of seeds, as we expect to do some culling.
Soil added to plot.  Not the most impressive visual, alas.

 Then we covered the whole thing by laying down rolls of chicken wire, to protect the seeds and subsequent shoots from various birds.

Our sources tell us 100 days is the rough lifecycle of the plant, so we're looking forward to late September.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good luck! We haven't tried corn in years! It's tomatoes primarily this year. But the weather is so hot and dry, that I am not sure what is going to come of it!

But anyway, I hope to see lots of pictures as the season progresses!