Our 2021 garden: what happened? and more critter damage :-(

One of the things I’ve been trying to baby is our Montana Morado corn. I really, really want these to work out!

As these were started indoors, they are much further along than any other corn we have, and have been developing ears of corn for a while now. I’ve been a bit concerned about pollination, and have even been hand pollinating any cobs that look like they might get missed.

My concern?

Many of the silks have have dried up. This is supposed to be a sign that the cobs are ready to pick, but they shouldn’t be ready to pick until the end of August or so. The packet didn’t have a “days to maturity” on it, as the variety is just too knew, but in looking up maize morado, it says 120 days to maturity, so I figure this should be close.

As my daughter and I were looking the corn over and talking about our concerns over how many silks are dry, even on tiny little cobs, I went ahead and picked a cob from the plant that first developed one. This would be the largest, most mature, of all the cobs. The silks at the top were so dry, they came off as I started to peel off the husks.

So this tells me one thing, at least. Pollination is good. There are lots of developing kernels, and almost no gaps. It is also clearly immature, and just starting to turn to its mature colour.

I have to admit, that looks very… unfortunate… 😀

We did taste it, and while not particularly sweet (I was not expecting it to be), but it did taste… well… like corn.

So why are the silks starting to dry so early? Yes, it’s been dry, but we’ve been diligent about watering these.

Have we not been watering it enough? Has it been too hot, even for this variety that was developed in a warmer zone than us? Will the cobs continue to mature, even if the silk dries up as would normally happen when the cobs are ready to pick?

I don’t know, but I’ve posted the question on one of my local gardening groups. I’ve had some clarifying questions, but so far, no answer.

Crud.

Well, we’ll just keep watering them and hope for the best!

Meanwhile, on checking the Crespo squash nearby…

More, “oh, crud.”

One of the vines have been eaten, and it does not look like deer damage. The barriers we put around it might convince a deer to not bother, but they can’t actually stop anything. I’m guessing this is from one of the woodchucks.

Today was hot enough that everything has dried up again, so I set up the sprinkler on the purple corn for a while. As I was moving the sprinkler to the corn at the opposite end of the garden area, I spotted a woodchuck in the middle of one of the sunflower blocks!! It wasn’t eating anything, and there was no damage when I checked, so it may have been just passing through.

I greatly encouraged that notion, and chased it through the hedge, into the ditch. It can go to the empty house across the road!

Anyhow.

As for the corn, I guess the only thing we can do is keep watering it and hope the cobs will continue to mature.

When we first bought the corn seeds, the produce description was for maize morado. The site even had a video talking about how a cowboy from Peru brought some seeds to where he was living in the US, and was able to grow extra to provide seeds for the company. I thought I was getting a Peruvian corn. Then the story changed, and it turned out to be a purple corn developed in Montana, and now it seems the name has been changed to Mountain Morado.

While trying to look up what the days to maturity might be for this corn, I found a different seed company that is selling the actual maize morado from Peru, Kulli. I think I will try buying those for next year. The packets only have 25 seeds in them, so I’ll probably get two or three. I had hoped to have seeds to save from this year’s corn, which may still happen, but if I don’t, I will also try the Mountain Morado (again?). Between the two, I hope to have something that will grow in our zone.

Until then, we’ll see how things go with what we have now.

The Re-Farmer

update: well, that was fast! Having tapped into the wealth of knowledge in the local gardening group, I have a likely answer. The drying of the silk may show that they have been successfully pollinated.

It’s either that, or the heat.

6 thoughts on “Our 2021 garden: what happened? and more critter damage :-(

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