Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Corn, GPS - it's about the same.

I was going to get into some more of the, ahem, New Fun Things with my Garmin, but, alas, I just realized that I need to also download some more software to this machine (a PC, versus my Mac at home) and then download some crap from the USB stick and then sync it with my watch before I could share the more riveting of the details, so the watch update will have to wait.

Until I can summon the patience to get all my machines on the same page with the stick and the watch and the stars and call up a few miracles, etc.

Don't be discouraged or put off by the Garmin yet, though - I've run across some decent features and seen some fancy ass shit that I think you'll like, too. If you have the patience for all this. Or if you're like me and don't like to be bossed around by technology and forge ahead if only for the sole purpose of Principle and Not Letting the Machines Win, etc.

For now though, let's talk garden.

Specifically, CORN.

Dead corn.

As in, it's gone.

Gone corn.

That's right, friends, I took down the corn over the long weekend and WHOA did it take more time than I expected.

See, when it comes to the garden, I usually allot way more time than is necessary to do simple tasks like planting seeds or harvesting tomatoes. I think this is because I love these tasks and in my mind I want to spend the whole live long day out there doing it because I know the results will be lovely and enjoyable and I want to do all I can to make these garden-type things come true, faster.

Well, I had the same vision for the corn: that I'd probably set aside way too much time to do something that'd take me all of ten minutes and then I'd be left going what do I do with all my free time NOW which did not happen.

No, not only did it take me approximately 10x longer to pull the corn, turn the bed and cover it until the first full moon of October (I'll get to this), but it also wasn't nearly as enjoyable as, say, planting the corn seed had been. Or, to be honest, any other garden task save for The Science which always takes just as long and is as mind-numbing as I expect it to be.

I'm not good with math, folks, and doing it under the blazing sun doesn't make it more fun.

No. Pulling the corn and going through this process was sweaty, dirty, monotonous work that basically sealed the deal on maybe I'll grow another variety of corn next year.

It was, all told, something of a pain in my ass, and then it filled the whole yard waste bin so that if I'd had any designs on, say, mowing the lawn, pruning the tomatoes (and lordie do they need it) or taking down any other crops, I'd have had to move to the Pile Method, which is fine except it means a lot of hauling that is no fun to do when I'm already hot and sweaty and have that ankle ring of dirt that comes from standing in a heap of downed corn stalks without wearing proper socks.

So, to sum it up, taking down the corn, a single and benign looking entry on my To-Do list, turned out to be a boring and bleh process in the grand scheme of gardening.

HOWEVER - I did get to take some pride in how my little formerly crushed by a mysterious animal corn seedlings had grown into big, strong and could-be-made-into-a-sukkah-if-I-were-a-good-and-real-Jew plants which produced enough corn for us to have more than one Corn Feast.

We could have been a sturdy structure.
Even though the longer they stayed on the plants, the starchier and less edible they became.

So small and starchy. Cute.

At least, though, the little cobs I found while Taking Down were cute enough to warrant an, "Aw!" from Bubba who was busy preparing himself for a crawl under our house.


I definitely had a better deal with the corn chore. At least I wouldn't be blowing basement dirt out of my nose all weekend. CAN YOU SAY GROSS? GOOD.

Not that he looks gross, mind you.
Because I find him to be quite adorable in his coveralls.
Before he goes into the basement.

So you know, the corn is now "down" and in the process of "downing" all the corn, I also removed every leaf from every stalk to use as mulch for the bed while it rests and awaits its turning and planting with fava beans.

Hi, tedious.

Whether using the corn's own foliage to mulch the bed is advisable, I'm not sure, but it's hard for me to let any viable composting matter go into the yard waste bin without at least one round as mulch.

Although I was totally imagining the possible results I'd get if I'd dared to stop what I was doing (HA! FAT CHANCE!) to Google "mulch with corn foliage" because I *just knew* it'd return something like, "Your garden will be rendered inert for the rest of its days." or something similarly dreadful. Thankfully, I just ran that search and it returned nothing of use. Mostly how to mulch corn plants, nothing about the corn's foliage.

So we're safe! Relief!

Notice I didn't mention any additional searches. Yes, that is because I don't want to be pushing my luck. You understand.

Now, getting back to that "plant fava beans at the first full moon of October" thing...

My neighbor, of Tomato Tunnel fame, planted fava beans last year as she does every year - at the first full moon of October, and last year I joined the fava ranks and planted some myself to rehab one of my nitrogen-dry beds - but I planted later in the year at a random time that coincided with some phase of the moon totally unknown to me.

Well, hers grew about twice as tall as mine.


I mean, mine weren't total slouches, but if you were to, say, turn 180 degrees and peer through the gate, you'd have seen her favas just all held upright and proud with stakes and string because WHOA they were hugely tall.

Meanwhile, mine were just fine standing upright on their own because, oh well, they were only so tall.

Well, not this year, folks.

With the corn down and the bed sitting idle under its mulch of the same origin, I am patiently awaiting the arrival of October's first full moon (10/4) to plant my new heirloom favas which I hope will grow tall and happy and make me feel justified in following moon phase planting even though when I told Bubba that's what I was doing he rolled his eyes in a serious way.

For the record though, I know other experienced and well-regarded gardeners who plant by the moon phases, so I don't feel too eye-rolly, but still, Bubba doesn't believe in this method yet and so I'm prepared to test it out and await general consensus on its relative ridiculousness.

We'll see.

Meanwhile though, I've let the artichokes go to flower because they look groovy and also because I'm lazy and our crisper is full from the farm share.


And if you're one to follow trackers, you might be interested to know that I'm up to 188+ lbs of produce which comes out to a rough value of $710.25 harvested from the garden this year.

Because I'm nice, I'll do the math and tell you the value of that is under $.50/lb, which is cheeeeeeeeeeeap.

We're not done yet, though, as the tomatoes, beans and WHOOPSY cucumbers are still producing. Even if I don't realize they have ripe fruit until I go to pick beans and find cucumbers climbing up the inside of the tepee.

Or whatever.


  1. Hey- I just posted about me seeing massive corn fields and soy bean fields this weekend! I tagged your blog on my pic of a corn field as we passed it at 78 mph on a 25 mph road since we were hi- like super late for where we needed to be. :)

  2. Huh. Taking corn out has never struck me as one of the less pleasant garden tasks. But then, I don't remove every goddamn leaf, either. Plus, it's nothing in comparison to the cutting of the potato foliage.

    Everything's relative.

  3. So, I'm going to take a class this winter here in that moon cycle/planting thing. Essentially it goes back to the farmer's almanac. I love the idea of the earth being more fertile at different times of the month.
    Who knew artichoke flowers were so gorgeous?

  4. also, I need your help today on my blog if you get a second.

  5. Waste bin? Finny! You're supposed to put all those stalks in your front yard with pumpkins for over-the-top halloween decor!


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