Corn trials

This year my corn planting got off to a very rocky start. Out of habit, and no really good reason, I have always started my corn off in toilet roll tubes and then planted them in the garden when they got to a good size. I tried it this year with two (new to me) varieties, Painted Mountain and Ontos Oval, a popping corn.

It was pretty much a complete failure with only 4 of 24 seeds germinating.

A pretty poor germinnation rate

It didn’t take long to work out that the potting mix was to blame. What has always been a good quality brand appears to have changed it’s mix, or maybe quality control wasn’t working because what we got was completely impervious to wetting. I even resorted to pulling the seed back out and potting in a different mix. I got another 3 seedlings up but I have written the rest off.

That left me doing what I should have done originally, direct seeding into the garden beds. I am having a play with planting one batch of Painted Mountain corn into the bed that had my broadbeans in it. Given that last year’s re-grown broadbeans gave us the most pods this year, I have cut the recent crop down to ground level and planted the corn between them in the hope that the broadbean roots will continue to fix nitrogen into the bed. The beans are already re-shooting.

Broad beans re-shooting with one of the few Painted Mountain corn seeds that germinated first time around.

Both types of the direct seeded corn are sprouting now, along with their ‘sister’ beans, this year it’s Lazy Housewife beans.

Lazy Housewife beans and the Painted Mountain corn sprouting.

The third ‘sister’ I have only planted in one bed. Rather than the traditional pumpkin I have planted Purple Sweet Potato. These are purchased plants, as we were totally unsuccessful at striking cuttings from a tuber as we had planned.

Sweet Potato plants with the corn sprouting alongside.

I hope that the sweet potato will grow as well as the crop I saw at the open garden I visited a while back.

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