The Potager

The Potager

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Three Sisters

In this corner of my garden is my tribute to the earliest settlers, the Native Americans. You may know that the Indians planted corn, beans and squash together and called them "The Three Sisters."
Corn uses a lot of of nitrogen. Beans naturally contain a bacteria that takes nitrogen from the air and puts it in the soil. Corn stalks support the climbing beans. The squash shades the soil, preventing weed growth and keeps varmints out of the corn patch with it's prickliness.
It's a symbiotic relationship.
I love the idea of corn in a backyard garden. I have visions of coming home from work, putting the water on to boil, going out to my garden, picking corn and having it on the table 5 minutes later.
However, I have never had luck with corn. I usually end up with little tiny stalks containing small mutant ears of something resembling corn, but not appetizing to look at.

My husband tells me not to plant corn. "It's cheap at the farm stands", he says. "It's a field crop, not a garden vegetable."

But still I love the idea of corn in a garden.
This year, my corn looks strong and healthy.
I am so excited to see it's progress.
We had a rocky start.
I lost half my corn to what I think was seed corn maggots. The little stalk of corn would look withered and I'd pull it out to find it full of little white maggots by the roots. Trying to treat it organically, I'd dig out all the soil around the roots, then pour boiling water in the soil to kill any escaped maggots.
It seems to have worked.  Look how beautiful my corn is now!

I know there are ear worms to contend with in the future, and one bad storm could send the whole crop to the ground.
But for now, the tassels are ripe and the little pollen-filled "flowers" flutter in the slightest breeze.
Soon they'll be little ears for them to pollinate.

My mouth is watering just thinking of that future corn.

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