Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden

Thanks to my daughters taking care of feeding the yard cats for me, I got to sleep in a bit, after a late night of getting the hard crab apple cider started. I’ve been pretty good about getting to bed at around midnight of late, so I’m not as used to being up past 2am anymore. 😄

I am really enjoying checking the garden while doing my morning rounds. The Red Kuri squash are ripening nicely, and the chocolate cherry tomatoes are slowing turning colour.

I’m a bit surprised these are taking so much longer, considering they get more sunlight than the Yellow Pear tomatoes, which we’ve been able to harvest for a little while now. My older daughter, for whom I bought this variety for, is really looking forward to trying them.

I remembered to get a picture of the newly supported kulli corn and Yellow Pear tomatoes. You can see some of the corn is still leaning way over. Those stalks are from the middle of the bed, and I wasn’t able to do much to add support in there. The tomatoes had all been leaning into the pathway, too, but I managed to straighten them up and add more support to their tops, and now the pathway can be walked in again!

I just love the look of these Ozark Nest Egg gourds! They are doing so well. I was even able to hand pollinate a couple more this morning.

While seeing what else could be pollinated, I was happy to see the G-Star squash I’d hand pollinated seems to have taken. I was able to hand pollinate another Boston Marrow and a couple Lady Godiva hulless pumpkins, too.

I was able to collect a far larger harvest this morning than I expected. The larger colander I use for harvesting was not available. Usually, that’s not an issue, as the smaller one is quite enough – but I didn’t expect to be picking more tomatoes this morning! I ended up having to use my pockets, too. 😄

There were more pole beans to pick than last time – and from the looks of some of them, a few got missed before! I was happy to pick more Magda squash, and to have one green zucchini ready to pick.

The tomatoes are all Cup of Moldova, and they went into the freezer with the rest. We still had some Sophie’s Choice that I picked yesterday, and they are now sliced and dehydrating in the oven.

Today is the last business day of the month: payday. Normally, I’d be in the city right now, doing more of our monthly stock up shopping. We are still good from the trip I did on the weekend, and we need to process the tomatoes in the freezer to free up space, so the trip can wait a bit longer.

I think, however, I might still make a jaunt into town. My husband’s birthday is coming up, and he wants a pizza night for his birthday. 😊

The Re-Farmer

Morning in the garden and, photobomb!

Things are getting cooler in the mornings, that’s for sure! At about 7am, we were at 9C/48F – quite a bit less than the low of 16C/ that was forecast!

And that is why I don’t allow myself to hope too much, when I see mild temperatures in the long range forecasts. Even forecasts within a 24hr period can be wildly off.

Still, things are working out okay. Along with the cool mornings, we’ve been having high humidity, resulting in very heavy dew that the plants are quite enjoying. Unfortunately, if it’s too cool, it slows down maturation. Our chocolate cherry tomatoes are only now starting to turn colour. We also still have only one kulli corn showing tassels, with none showing silk.

While looking for beans to pick, I spotted this at the bottom of the one stalk that has tassels. I think it’s neat that corn develops these.

The yellow bush beans are pretty much done, but I’m leaving the plants be, rather than pull them up. They act as a living mulch for the corn, and shade the ground, so they still serve a purpose.

The sweet corn, on the other hand, is suddenly doing very well! There are so many cobs developing. This area is pretty breezy, so there are nor worries about adequate pollination, here!

There was finally a new Lady Godiva baby pumpkin to hand pollinate – the one you can see in the background is still the only pumpkin from the 5 plants. I did see another female flower bud, but it won’t be ready to pollinate for a few days yet – assuming it makes it that long.

While checking the beds, I could see bees busily doing their work in the squash blossoms, but I’ve noticed that while all the male flowers are wide open, the female flowers tend to have there blossoms already closed!

As lovely as it is to see the luffa gourd, it’s not going to make it. Do yo use that sort of star shape on my finger in the background? That’s a cluster of male flowers, nowhere near blooming. Meanwhile, the female flowers that have emerged so far are already losing their blossom ends, so there is no possibility of pollination.

These shelling beans may be tiny and delicate, but they have SO many developing pods!

Still nothing on the red noodle beans.

There are, however, a LOT of dancing gourds! It looks like they’ll be able to reach their full mature size, too. We had lots last year, but they were all much smaller than they should have been.

Once I finished gathering a harvest, I paused to hose it all over, then set up for…

… a photobomb, it turns out!

What a cheeky little bugger.

It looks like the pole beans are winding down now, too. There is still lots on the vines, at various stages of growth, so we’ll still be picking every 2 days, but there was a lot less of them, this morning.

The peas were a surprise, though. I didn’t expect to find very many, especially at the first planting, so I started off just eating them. Then I just kept finding more. Peas should have been done producing, long ago!

I tried thinning by harvesting some carrots, but that just doesn’t work with the Black Nebula carrots. They’re such a long carrot, though, it’s hard to pull them up, so I’m just leaving them for now. Those will need to be harvested with a garden fork.

I hand pollinated some more summer squash, and even had a few to pick. That one yellow zucchini was looking like it was going to ripen unevenly, so I just grabbed it. I also grabbed a few of the smaller onions for today’s cooking.

Once done my rounds, I headed to town to pick up some missing ingredients to do some pickling. We really need to do something with the cucumbers my sister gave us. They are so huge, though! It’s a good thing I did pick up a case of wide-mouthed quart jars a while back. I usually get 500ml or 750ml sized jars. There are cucumbers that would completely fill one of those, all on its own! I plan to pickle the smallest ones, and leave the larger ones for fresh eating.

While in town, I also stopped at the wine making supply shot and picked up more yeast, and a couple of spare bungs for the gallon sized carboys. We’ll be making hard apple cider again, soon, and it’ll be nice if we can get four carboys started this time. We had only two, last time. It turned out so well, I’ll happily double the amount. We should have more than enough apples to do that, plus make apple cider vinegar, too.

But first, the cucumbers need to be taken care of. They’ve been scrubbed, and it’s time to start sterilizing the quart jars! 😊🥒

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: first tassels and first tomatoes!

While doing my evening rounds this morning, I spotted the first tassels on the kulli corn!

I got this picture by standing with my arms up as high as I could reach. I did not zoom in at all. I think at least a couple of the kulli corn have reached their 8′ potential height!

Still no signs of silks, though.

Going through the garden beds with one of my daughters later on, we were looking at the sweet corn, which has lots of tassels, and the popcorn. The little bitty Tom Thumb popcorn plants are not only showing lots of tassels, but I actually spotted some silks in one of them! The doubt the plant it was on was even a foot high. They only need 60 days to maturity, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised, except for how drowned out they got this spring.

When checking the tomatoes in the main garden area, I was noticing some were looking like they were about to crack, and I think some were even missing. So we decided to harvest the most ripe ones. Yes, we’ve picked a few tomatoes here and there already, but this is our first real harvest of them!

The Cup of Moldova are on the right, Sophie’s Choice on the left. There are still plenty more on the vines that are completely green, or just starting to blush.

My daughter found a couple really ripe ones that were so small, they would have fallen through the holes in the containers we were using. Pocket tomatoes! 😄

Once inside, they got nestled into shredded paper. With so much less of the Sophie’s Choice tomatoes, they got transferred to a smaller bin.

They can now sit in the relative cool and indirect light of the old kitchen to finish ripening, safe from cats!

The girls will be prepping the kitchen and dining table for when we’re ready to start canning the tomatoes. Hopefully, they’ll find my small batch canning recipe book in the process. It’s bugging me, now that I can’t find it! I know where it should be, but it isn’t there!

We talked about pickling the beans I picked this morning, with the recipe from another book I found for that, but they might just blanch and freeze them, instead. It depends on how things go for them tonight. My older daughter has commissions to work on, of course, so most of that job will be falling on my younger daughter.

Today has been a very fruitful day out of the garden, and with so many setbacks this year, I am incredibly grateful.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: morning in the garden

While most of our garden is behind, with a few outright fails, we do have a few things doing well.

So far, we have five Red Kuri squash developing, and I just pollinated a new female flower this morning. The plants themselves are doing well in this location, growing in the chimney block planters. I really hope we will have more of these, and that there it enough growing season left before first frost. We quite liked the ripe one we were able to taste test last year.

I’m really impressed with the ground cherries! I had my doubts that they would make it after transplanting, as this spot got so incredibly wet, but survive they did, and are now wonderfully robust. The first time we tried growing ground cherries, it was in a container on our balcony. It did well, but these are doing even better. There are so many fruits forming! While watering a couple of nights ago, I noticed something light coloured on the ground that turned out to be a fallen ground cherry that had ripened faster than all the others.

I ate it.

It was delicious.

My daughters are surprised I like these so much, as they are related to tomatoes. Whatever is in fresh tomatoes that makes me gag is not in ground cherries, I guess. I find they have such a wonderful sweet-tart flavour. I don’t think the rest of the family are big fans of them. That’s okay. More for me!

Part of the reason we chose this location is because I’ve read they self seed easily. I’ve even seen it on lists other gardeners have made for “things I regret growing” because they can almost be invasive.

I just don’t see that as being a problem. I would love it if we had more! And if they fill in this area, that’s okay, too.

In the background, you can see the kulli corn and the yellow bush beans. Both are doing very well in that new bed. The corn took quite a while to recover from being transplanted, so I’m very happy to see how well they are growing. No sign of silks or tassels yet, though.

The Yellow Pear tomatoes, on the other side of the corn, are also doing well. The plants are much taller and fuller than the ones in the main garden. Their fruiting is not as far along, though. Which makes sense, since they were started indoors at 4 weeks before last frost, while the ones in the main garden area were started 10 weeks before last frost.

Speaking of which…

While checking to see if any suckers needs to be pruned away, I noticed one of the Cup of Moldova plants seem to be falling over, even though it was staked. Looking closer, I found the clip had come loose – and had a tomato trying to grow into it! I tried to be careful about removing the clip, but the tomato fell off in the process. The plant is now once again secured to its stake.

As for the tomato, slightly wounded and deformed by the clip, I brought it inside. It should continue ripening.

The Cup of Moldova and Sophie’s Choice tomatoes are looking quite prolific! The Sophie’s Choice plants are much shorter and stockier. One of them is so short, there is no way for me to clip it to its stake. The stake is basically just there for the plant to lean on, but the bigger the tomatoes are getting, the more it’s leaning in the other direction.

Ah, well.

We are greatly anticipating being able to start processing tomatoes. Mostly, I want to make tomato paste, which takes a long time to cook down, so we will probably do crushed tomatoes, too. Pretty much the only thing we use other than tomato paste is crushed tomatoes in chili.

I’ll have to go over how to save tomato seeds again. It’s more complicated than with other seeds. My mother had always saved seeds from her tomatoes, but she just dried them. None of that letting them ferment in water, thing! 😄 It worked for her, but my mother always did have two green thumbs!

With our average first frost date being Sept. 10, we have just over a month of growing season left. There is still time for productivity! In the end, it all comes down to the weather.

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: new growth, weeding progress and sad harvest

While checking on the garden (and putting back cardboard mulch that was blown around), I spotted some new growth.

This is an apple gourd! I’m hoping it was pollinated and will continue growing. It looks like 3 of the 4 apple gourd plants are going to be productive, but this one is definitely the largest and strongest. The fourth one remains barely visible!

We have two more Baby Pam pumpkins developing! I hand pollinated these ones myself, just in case, and it seems to have taken. That makes a total of 3 of these pumpkins trying to grow. As these are a small, short season variety, we might actually have ripe pumpkins to harvest this fall.

The kulli corn is getting nice and tall! It’s time to take the net off and see if we can wrap it around the side, leaving the top open, for the corn to reach its full height.

Those bean plants are huge! This bed was made with trench composting, and it seems to have made a difference.

Rearranging the net will give a chance for some weeding, too, but it doesn’t look like this bed is having weed problems! 😄

The nearby ground cherries are getting very robust!

This is what ground cherry flowers look like. 🙂 I’ve finding quite a few flowers, and developing fruit. I’m looking forward to these!

I was finally able to settle in and weed this overground bed. The netting around it may keep the groundhogs away from the carrots, but it prevents casual weeding, too.

Unfortunately, I did end up accidentally pulling a couple of purple carrots in the process. It’s really hard to pull up crab grass next to carrot greens!

There aren’t a lot of the one type of turnip, but at least there’s something. The Gold Ball turnip are simply gone. They were the first to germinate, and disappeared almost immediately. I’d hoped that, while weeding, I might find some survivors, but there’s nothing. I don’t know what ate them, any more than I know what is leaving so many holes in the other turnips. We planted 3 types of turnips, but only one has survived – so far.

I did manage to have a sad little harvest this morning. A handful of the shelling peas, and a few raspberries.

Which is better than no harvest at all!

While at my mother’s, yesterday, we went looking at the garden plots outside her apartment. She has one little corner with some low maintenance plants in it, but some of her neighbours have better mobility and are growing a remarkable amount of vegetables in those little plots. One person has peas. They are pretty much twice the size of our own peas even though, from the stage of the developing pods, they had to have been planted later than our own. Even so, they were smaller than pea plants should be.

It’s been a hard gardening year for so many people!

The Re-Farmer

Morning discoveries

Sunday is normally our day of rest, though of course work still needs to be done. Today, however, is going to be more of a day of rest than I’d hoped. We had rain overnight, and everything is still wet, so finishing the mowing is out. We’re also still getting all sorts of weather warnings, from severe thunderstorms to high water levels from rain falling elsewhere. At least we’re not getting tornado warnings in our area.

The garden, at least, if finally seeing some grown spurts. I’m most happy to see how this bed is doing.

That Kulli corn has been staying small for so long, I was starting to be concerned, but it is finally kicking in. I hope the beans planted with them are helping!

Hungry kittens are brave kittens! Nice to see them actually inside the kibble house, instead of hiding under the cat house.

There was an unexpected harvest this morning. Just a tiny one.

I checked on the wild strawberry patch, and could actually see the red berries from a distance!

The berries are so tiny, they are hard to pick! Many were already over ripe, but there are still lots of under ripe ones. This is the most we’ve seen since we found the patch while cleaning out the maple grove.

At some point, I would like to prepare a bed for them and transplant as many as I can, so they’re not fighting with grass and weeds to grow.

While moving things over to the burn barrel, I found another surprise in the branch pile.

One of the other litters of kittens has emerged! I had no idea there was another litter of kittens in this branch pile. Definitely the largest litter we’ve seen, too. There are six of them.

So adorable!

The cats are going to miss this pile of branches when we finally get it chipped!

We got another, far less pleasant surprise.

Our first spring here, one of the things that suddenly gave out was the drain on one side of the kitchen sink.

Well, the other side has finally given out, too. I heard some dripping a couple of days ago and asked my daughters to check it for me, as I can’t get under to look properly. My younger daughter found where it was leaking. When examining it from below, she was actually able to push the whole thing upwards!

So today, I’ll be making a trip to the hardware store to get the kit to replace it all. They open in about half an hour, so I’ll be heading out soon. At least we know, since we’ve already had it happen before, what we need to fix it! 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Surviving the wet, and shed thoughts

The forecasts for more thunderstorms today have disappeared. Right now, we’ve got bright sunshine, it’s 20C/68F, and everything is still wet, wet, wet!

Of course, I had to check all the garden beds. Not only to see how they are surviving the wet, but to see if there was any damage caused by the deer I chased out last night!

So far, so good.

The rain has certainly been good for the beans! The bush beans between the Kulli corn are growing so fast! Even the beans at the bean tunnel, which were planted later, are growing like gangbusters.

The Kulli corn doesn’t seem too happy, though. They may still be suffering transplant shock. Hopefully, the nitrogen fixing beans will help them grow.

The first potatoes have sprouted! So far, only the All Blue are sprouting. I expected the leaves would be darker than other potato varieties we planted, but I did not expect them to be so deeply purple! I am so happy to see them. I was starting to wonder if they were okay or not. The paths between the beds had standing water in them, which means there was probably a lot of water under that mulch. If it’s too wet, they’ll just rot rather than grow.

There was no signs of deer damage, but oddly, something seems to be eating the turnip greens. The sprouts are still incredibly tiny. Areas I’d seen some sprouting earlier, now seem to have none, while the ones I do find have teeny holes in the teeny leaves. Whatever is chewing those holes must be incredibly small.

I was able to do a bit of weeding this morning. The wet ground does make it easier to pull them up by the roots – if they don’t break, first, which seems to be what happens more often. Thankfully, the winds are high enough to blow away the mosquitoes, so working outside will be more pleasant. We still have loads of soil to bring to the garden, but the area in between the pile of garden soil and where we need to take it is so muddy, that will not be easy. Nor will going through the tall grass. It’s just too wet to mow.

Where the water collects is going to help us in deciding where we want to put a foundation for the shed we ordered. If it comes in. With such deeply discounted prices, there is the very real possibility it’s a scam site. I did get an order confirmation right away. If it is a scam, they’re doing a very good job of hiding it. That they are using the Lowe’s brand and images without being shut down is also a point to consider. What we should be getting next is a shipping notice. The shed is supposed to arrive in 3-7 days – or 6-10 days to Canada, under Covid restrictions. Canada has finally lifted the vaxx mandate for flights (masks still required, which makes no sense at all) but truckers still aren’t allowed across the boarder unless they’ve been jabbed, so anything shipped by truck is still going to be delayed. That is an issue only after it’s been shipped, of course. According to the order confirmation email, we can cancel our order within 14 days and get a refund, so long as it hasn’t been shipped yet.

I really hope it’s legit. I’ll keep updating about it.

Interestingly, since I placed the order, I have started to see all sorts of ads in my Facebook news feed about sheds for sale at even lower prices, from companies with questionable names, the same photos used over and over, and quite obviously scam sites. The comments under the ads were all unfavorable, too.

Well, we’ll see how it goes.

For now, I’m procrastinating going outside. It’s now 21C/70F, which is going to make heavy manual labour quite unpleasant. At least the winds are still high enough the mosquitoes shouldn’t be much of a problem!

The Re-Farmer

Blooming and growing

We had more rain last night and this morning, and while we have some sun as I’m writing this, we’re expected to have more rain and thunderstorms tonight.

The plants and trees are loving it!

The lilacs near the house are so heavy with clusters of flowers, the branches are bowing down with the weight, to the point that even short little me has to duck to go under them!

This is our fifth spring here, and I’ve never seen the white lilacs blooming and well as this year.

The double lilacs in the old kitchen garden had to recover from storm damage a couple of years ago, then the late May killer frost last year. It’s been a while since these have bloomed so heavily!

The nearby honeysuckle did all right last year, as they start budding later than things like the lilacs and did not get affected by the last frost as much, and it looks like this year they will do even better.

Even the hawthorn, which is thoroughly shaded, is blooming.

After uploading the photo, I could see that it has some sort of insect infestation under some of the leaves!

Also, just look at that thorn! Yikes!

Shrubs aren’t the only thing we’ve got blooming right now.

Yes! We have blooming tomatoes! These would be the Sophie’s Choice, which we started very early indoors, then restarted after the seedlings got eaten by cats. An early start was recommended for this variety, even though it is a short season variety, so I’m not too surprised to see flowers on these ones. To see them so soon after transplanting, though, is rather awesome!

While checking the various garden beds, I could finally see the purple carrots are starting to sprout. They’re still very hard to see, but they are making an appearance. The yellow Uzbek carrots are being much more enthusiastic about sprouting! I can’t tell about the Napoli and Kyoto Red planted near the south fence. They were pelleted seeds, so we could space them further apart, which makes it harder to see if those tiny leaflets are carrot, or some weed!

The peas that had already sprouted at the trellis are getting noticeably bigger. In the old kitchen garden, I’m finally seeing some beets, though for all my efforts to pull up and transplant the mint out from the bed last fall, they are still coming up strong, along with some other weeds. The beet seedlings are too tiny and delicate to risk disturbing them while trying to weed.

In the lettuce bed, the buttercrunch lettuce germinated a while back and it won’t be long before we are able to start harvesting baby leaves while thinning the rows. Another variety, Lunix, if I remember correctly, as also started to sprout, but like the beet bed, efforts to pull up the weed roots were not very successful. My mother had planted some very invasive flowers in this bed, and they are incredibly difficult to get under control!

The Kulli corn is still looking a weak, but the bush beans planted with them are starting to come up! I’ve got arrows pointing to the bean seedlings that are in this photo.

Meanwhile, all around the various beds, we’ve got onion sets coming up, and the onions started from seed seem to have all survived and are getting stronger. All of the transplants seem to have not only survived being transplanted, but are handling the heavy rains we’ve had, just fine. The first spinach that was planted are growing their true leaves now, and it won’t be long before we will be having fresh greens to eat!

I am so looking forward to when my morning rounds will start to include harvesting fresh leafy greens, beans, peas and summer squash, regularly again!

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: kulli corn, yellow beans and garlic

Yes! Finally! Major transplanting was started today. 🙂

The first thing I needed to finish was topping up the low raised bed they were going into.

Since the snow melted away, we’ve been adding our kitchen compost in the trench, which already had some straw in it, and I even tossed in the soil from various pots we had, from house plants that died, to seed starts from last year that didn’t germinate. The last layer before adding the soil was some fresh grass clippings.

This is the first time this pile of garden soil has been uncovered since last year.

So. Many. Thistles!

And those roots go all the way though the pile.

Which meant I had to bring the makeshift soil sifter into service, so get as many of the roots as possible out. It was long and tedious, but at least it was made a bit easier by scavenging a couple of scrap boards out of a pile to support the steel mesh, rather than the found branches I was using before. Sifting the soil had to be a gentle process, because there were SO many worms.

I kept the worms for the new bed. 😀

After the soil was added, stove pellets were scattered across the top and hydrated so act as a thin mulch. It won’t stop any weeds, but it will help keep the soil surface from compacting. After several soakings, the sawdust was spread evenly with the back of a fan rake.

It took a couple of hours, but I could finally transplant the kulli corn!

They had a major root system going! It made it difficult to get them out of the bins, then pull apart the tubes. The toilet paper really wanted to come apart!

With the larger bin, it was even more difficult to get them out, and the whole thing ended up falling out and apart. I think only one corn plant actually got broken, though. We’ll see if it makes it.

I counted the seedlings, then marked three rows of 20 evenly spaced spots for the corn. The actual total was 58, including some smaller ones that may or may not make it. We ordered 100 seeds, and there were extras, so we’re looking at roughly 50% germination rate. Which I don’t mind. We would have had trouble finding space for more. They are quite closely planted, as it is. Which should be good for improving pollination.

Of the remaining rolls, I broke apart the cardboard and rifled through it. No sign of the remaining seeds that did not germinate. The carboard went into the compost pile, while the remaining soil was used to top dress any seedlings that looked like they could use it.

I had also grabbed a bag of bush beans from last year, picking the one that looked like it had fewer seeds. That was the yellow “Golden Rod” variety. We still have some green bush beans left, too.

I counted the bean seeds and there was 38 – which was perfect! I could plant two rows of 19 beans, in between the corn.

As they are “old” seeds, I don’t expect 100% germination. This bed is very densely planted, but they should be complimentary.

The corn, however, needed to be protected. The question was, how?

I made a trip to the barn and dug out the T posts I spotted in one corner, a while back. There turned out to be 6 of them, all different lengths. :-/

I had to dig holes to be able to set them, using a garden trowel, since a spade would have been just too big. Within inches, I was hitting water, then rocks and gravel. After placing the posts and trying to push the soil back against them, there was literally water, shooting out from the ground, as I stomped on the soil!

We have no post pounder, so I found a heavy hammer to try and drive them deeper. Especially the longest one, but I think that one ended up hitting a rock. Being the short person that I am, for the taller once, I had to stand on the corners of the bed to reach. Even with a board across the corner to stand on, I was wobbling all over the place! LOL

Once they were in, I strung some twine around to further support the net, once it was added. That was a job that had to wait for when the girls were available.

In the two garlic beds, the nearer one had only 6 remaining garlic coming up – and one of those was barely there. I could find no sign of the few others that had emerged, as well.

I decided to transplant those 6 garlic into the other bed. That one has a lot more garlic trying to grow, but there was still plenty of space at one end to transplant the remaining 6 of the other variety.

The left a bed available for planting into, which we did end up doing.

The main challenge was, how do we cover the bed with netting, yet still be able to access the plants, easily, for weeding and eventual harvesting of yellow beans.

Piece of pool noodles were added to the tops of the posts, so they wouldn’t tear apart the net. When the one on the tallest post fell off, I left it. If it tears, it’ll only go down to the twine, and will actually line up better with the rest.

When I brought the T posts out of the barn, I also grabbed a stack of narrow pipes. I have no idea what they were for, or why they were stored there, but I figured the might make good supports. The short ends of the net are wrapped around those pipes and zip tied into place. For the long sides, we zip tied narrow fence posts we found… somewhere, to weigh down the netting. Any gaps were further secured with ground staples. If we want to tend the bed, we can remove the ground staples and lift the poles to get under the netting.

Hopefully, that will work out.

The corn can potentially grow to 8 ft tall, which is higher than the netting, but if they do get that tall, we’ll deal with it, then.

That was my big job for today, but it wasn’t the only one we got accomplished! I’ll write about that, in my next post. 🙂

The Re-Farmer

Our 2022 garden: first corn!

I just had to start out with this bit of gardening excitement.

When checking the plants in the sun room this morning, I spotted our very first Kulli corn seeds germinating!

When I took the picture, I could only see a couple in this larger bin in the plant shelf. After uploading the photo, I spotted several more and … oh! I just spotted one more that I missed when putting the arrows in! It’s two pots to the left of the single arrow in the middle.

These are in the smaller bin that recently got moved to the platform we made over the swing bench, at the west facing window.

I am just so thrilled! For the new folks who just started following this blog (welcome! I’m happy to see you!), Kulli is a Peruvian purple-black corn, also called maiz morado, that I’m trying to grow in our zone. I thought I was trying them last year, but the information from where I bought them kept changing, and it turned out they were developed for cold hardiness in the US, but were not actually acclimated Kulli corn, as I originally thought. I found some Kulli seeds at Mary’s Heirloom Seeds, in Texas. They are supposed to be good both as a fresh eating corn, and as a flour corn. They are also used to make a drink called chicha morado, and as a dye. I have not been able to learn much about their native growing conditions, since Peru is so mountainous, and it’s hard to compare to our Canadian growing zones. This is why I am starting them indoors – not typically recommended for corn – to transplant. Plus, they take 120 days to maturity. Our growing season, from last frost in the spring to first frost in the fall, averages 100 days.

This is a pet project of mine, in that I would like to acclimate the variety to our growing zone (if that’s even needed). These will be kept well away from other varieties of corn. Starting them indoors also means they will pollinate earlier than the other varieties we’ll be growing this year. Between those two factors, there should be no cross pollination.

We’ll have to take extra care when transplanting these, to protect them from the critters.

I saw my first ground hog running around, when I did my rounds this morning. I also saw a racoon in the kibble house about a week ago and, of course, the deer area always around. I’m not sure which critter destroyed our black corn last year, that had been doing so well.

Must protect the corn babies! 🙂

The Re-Farmer