Monday, September 21, 2020

Another corn update

So when I was taking down the tomato plants this weekend, I noticed that something had started stripping ears in the corn patch.  I'm assuming it's squirrels, but I've got some blue jays that show up sometimes that I wouldn't put it past either.  Anyway, I've started grabbing ears as the plants dry.

multi-colored glass gem popcorn on a screen to dry

You can see from some of the mono-color-dominated ears that I didn't mix the seed colors up too well when I was planting - I apparently clustered some red and blue.  There are a few great mixed ears, though, and some really pretty pastel ones.  I will definitely be planting this again next year (even if we don't eat that much popcorn or if I fail to dry it correctly to make it pop) because it's fun to shuck and find out what color it is.

When I was a kid sometimes we would shuck sweet corn for my grandmother, and when we'd find bugs or something, we'd generally panic and throw the ear back into the field.  You may be pleased to know that I still do that.

If you want to try growing your own glass gem popcorn, here's where I got the seeds:

Friday, August 28, 2020

Something new from the garden!

The first summer after we moved into the house, I planted a grapevine along the back fence.  That was 2011.  This year, for the first time:

green grapes straight off the vine

That is approximately six quarts of some kind of green wine grape.  After picking out all the ones the bugs got to first, there were about four quarts of good grapes left.

Yesterday, I measured out about enough for juice for jelly.

green grapes in the pot for juice preparation

The seeds make it pretty clear that these are not table grapes:

cooked grapes with seeds

At this point they smelled like grapes!  Somehow that made it more real.  Four cups of juice plus seven cups of sugar plus a packet of liquid pectin:

juice & sugar in a pot on the stove

I got a bit over eight half-pints.  They look like cider jelly:

green grape jelly in jars

It's a good thing we got English muffins at the grocery, because I have not had time to make any with tomato season being on.  (See the stove in the first picture, haha.  So far I've done ketchup, two batches of salsa, and one of sauce.  This weekend will be tomato paste.)

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Just a corn update

 It's taller now.

Dwarf apple tree for scale.

Thursday, July 16, 2020

July garden update

So these pictures are already a bit outdated - everything is bigger - but they're just after I put up the rabbit fencing.

The rabbits and I were good the past three or four years.  I was doing the hay/straw mulch, and they were content to mostly nibble on that.  I wish I could have gotten it this year, both for the misdirection from nibbling (zucchini, cucumbers, and Serrano peppers) and because I didn't realize just how much it was helping with weeds.  I need to do a seriously thorough weeding this weekend.

So putting up the rabbit fencing meant it was also time to put down the soaker hoses, which have had some placement adjustment to get them closer to the plants, but the hoses go under the fence, so they went in first.  The front tomatoes are a mix of plum and I think celebrity; the back tomatoes were originally going to be cherry tomatoes, but I never managed to get plants, so they're a mix of plum and early girl.  In between there's zucchini and cucumbers, which are slowly recovering from the rabbit.  I don't know if I'll get any this year, and the zucchini plant, despite being huge, is not producing.

tomatoes, zucchini, cucumber fence

The corn is all taller than me now, and you can't see the apple tree behind them from this perspective anymore.  (Note the grape vine in the background; I pruned it severely in the spring, and it went wild.)  In front of the corn you can see the pumpkin plants on this end; I put them on both end and have trained them up the aisles.  Supposedly they will deter raccoons, not that I've ever seen raccoons in our neighborhood.  The rabbit is still getting in to the pumpkin leaves a bit, but it's not killing anything at this point.

corn, pumpkins, squash

Haha, yellow squash.  We're already doomed.  I've picked a dozen already.  I thought I only had two plants; I have four.  There are jalapeno and Serrano peppers closer to the fence; they are producing reliably now that the latter have recovered from the rabbit somewhat.

peppers and squahs

I do better with lettuce (and catnip) outside; I've moved it into the shade so it doesn't get sunburnt.  The lettuce is mostly bolted at this point and needs to be cut down and reseeded.  I should probably move the catnip to a bigger container.

lettuces and catnip

And the zinnias are blooming!  I've only seen a couple butterflies so far, but these will probably be making flowers for a while yet.


I've been reading up on herb gardens this week; I'm trying to decide where it's practical to do in the remaining spaces and what I want to include in it.  I don't want to overcrowd the deck again since I use the telescopes and binoculars there for added height over the neighbors' houses, and the bed next to the roses I think is too shaded.  In front of the house has some really nice perennials but also a lot of empty space that I let go to milkweed while it's flowering, as well as some hydrangeas that don't flower that I have failed to kill.  Other than those three spaces, I either need to make additional beds in the back yard (feasible but I probably need to remove some flowering shrubs to do so) or plan to do containers on the patio and move my zinnias next year.  Either way I expect I will be bringing a bay tree inside over the winter.