Changing Stupid to Awesome

Last year was a mess with the corn.  It came up so pretty, grew tall and then began to bow… I have no idea why.  It was horrible.  I named it the stupid corn.

It was lame.

However… I just can’t give up on this.  There is something about corn that just says, “THIS IS A GARDEN!”  Fail or not, I have to try.

So this year I tried something different.  It started last year, shortly after removing the stupid corn.  I mulched the whole area about two feet deep.  I watered occasionally.  It kept any weeds from really taking root in the area during the winter and my hopes were that it was improving the composition of the soil.

This weekend the trials began.

It was a nice day on Saturday, low hundreds, probably in the 105 range, but I’m just guessing here.

Last year I had a flat area that I had amended and planted densely in no particular pattern.  Tight grouping to get better pollination was the thought.  It failed.  My best guess is that the heavy feeding corn drained the nutrients from the soil and became deficient.  The flat area began to fall in certain areas and low spots developed.  Some areas had adequate water, some were a little parched.

This year I went for straight rows, 20 inches apart, approximately 6 inch spacing in the row.  Very similar to what I have observed the commercial growers doing in the area.  I dug down a bit and then poked holes and planted.  The trenches allow me to fully flood the area where the seeds are.  As the plants grow some of that dirt will go back in the trenches and the watering strategy will morph with some specialized contraptions that now only exist in my head.  It’s a fluid situation, but there is definitely a plan.

By the time the mulch was moved and the trenches were done I was pretty pooped.  My planting crew of three “volunteers” came out and helped plant the seeds.  It was over quickly and deeply watered.

Just in time.  Today is going to be 111.  Ouch.

We’ve officially reached, “Why do I live here!”  season.  Not nearly as much fun as the “Everybody wishes they lived here!” season, which thankfully is much longer than the current season.

Everything else seems to be undaunted by the temps.  Plenty of water.  Topping off the ollas every day.  They seem to be working like a charm.  It was 105 the other day and my zucchini plants were perky and producing.  Nice!

We’ve started the great squash harvest of 2014.  My son saw the first two on the counter and said, “well, if it’s anything like last year I’m sure there will be two BILLION more.”  Gotta love the zukes like that!

I hope so, son.  I hope so.

Now for the only picture today.  I was noticing a little Old Time Tennessee melon developing.  The first of the melons this year.  It was about an inch long.  While I stooped down near some of the other vines I happened to notice this guy hiding in the leaves.

Image

Very exciting!  There is another one, slightly smaller that is nearby.  Seems like the first ones always sneak up on me.  Cucumbers should be producing soon.  Yellow squash are starting to come in.  Butternuts are vining out all over the place.  Melon vines are everywhere.

I have a dream that at some point this summer we will be eating sweet corn with dinner and having a tri-colored watermelon salad for dessert.  (Desert King – Yellow, Orange Tender Sweet, and Charleston Gray – Red)

We started harvesting the bigger tomatoes.  Lots of splits.  I’m trying to figure out why but we’ve been eating what we can.  The flavor is delicious.  Smaller tomatoes are a daily occurrence.  Very tasty right off of the vine.  Some never make it in the house.

I hope your spring/summer garden is coming along.  I’ll show you some pics of the new AWESOME corn once the straws start to appear.

Have a blessed week!

Linked at the Homestead Barn Hop

Linked at Homesteader’s Hop

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This entry was posted in Arizona Garden, charleston gray watermelon, corn, cucumbers, desert garden, Desert King Watermelon, Dripping Springs Ollas, Growing corn, Old Time Tennessee Melons, ollas, spring garden, tomatoes, zucchini. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Changing Stupid to Awesome

  1. Corn can be so frustrating to grow! Good luck!

  2. I have never had any real luck with it. When you figure it out, which you will! please share your wisdom with the rest of us! LOL Your garden is really coming along. I hope I have half the success you are having now later on.

  3. tntdreaming says:

    I have difficulty with corn too. I usually get really tiny ears about 3-4 inches tall…drives me nuts, but I guess it’s better than it being just a big old ant’s nest. GOOD LUCK!!

  4. Bill says:

    Every now and then we’ll top 100 here. I can’t imagine trying to grow food in a climate where it’s over 100 regularly!

    Corn can be a pain. Last year, within a week or two of being able to harvest ours, the raccoons got into it and over a period of about a week ate it all. Out of about a thousand row feet I got two ears, despite using every thing I could think of to stop them. And if it’s not that the crows eat the seed, or a storm comes up and blows all the young stalks down. Meanwhile, being a heavy feeder, it’s greedily sucking nutrients out of the soil. I love sweet corn, but this year I scaled way back on it. Just too much trouble. My neighbor grows a large crop and lost it all to bears and deer. Hopefully you’ll over come all the obstacles and have a great crop!

    • Bears, raccoons, and deer. My 110 doesn’t sound so bad now. 🙂 My little patch of corn is tiny compared that but it’s already come up and looking good. I’m hopeful! Hope is always a good thing. Thanks!

  5. pobept says:

    Here are some reasons for cracked/split tomato’s and what to do about that problem
    http://greensideupblog.com/2008/06/solution-for-cracking-and-spliting-tomatoes/
    Happy gardening

    • Interesting. That is similar to the research I found. I’m thinking that it goes back to my growing method. The SFG way of growing the single vine up the trellis is great, if you can shad them some how. Last year I grew a jungle which provided the shade. I guess I have some things to figure out with the tomatoes still. Oh well, that’s part of the fun! Fortunately all of the smaller tomatoes did great. Maybe that’s the best course of action for me.

  6. pobept says:

    Growing corn, you may be planting t late in the season for best corn growing conditions. Try planting using soil temperature as your guide on when to plant corn. When your soil, has reached 50F to 60F degrees plant is a good time to plant corn.
    http://www.colostate.edu/Depts/CoopExt/4DMG/VegFruit/corn.htm
    Colorado State University backyard corn growing hints and tips
    Good luck and good eating

    • I understand what you’re saying. From my observations from the local farms the corn growing season is very l-o-n-g here. Crazy long. I’ve seen the same fields get two full crops of corn. March to mid summer, then mid summer clear into the first part of November. That’s a long season. I’m not sure my soil here ever dips below 50-60 degrees. Our average high never dips below 63 degrees.

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