Sunday, July 17, 2011

Interplanting corn, beans and squash

Our small (6x6') plot of corn is coming along nicely out back, with some of the stalks now taller than I am. We decided to try the corn-beans-squash combination that almost every gardening book recommends, so Jess planted pole beans around the south and east edges and stuck some small squash in among the rows after the corn had become established.

The beans came up but then it was hard to see any progress. But I went out last night and voila, they have climbed the corn stalks right to the top! You can see one looping around the corn in the picture above. No beans yet, but so far, so good.

The corn itself is also showing signs of producing corn. Several of the taller plants have silky tassles and proto-cobs formed. Barring disaster, I'm quite looking forward to eating some! The squash plants are also doing well, but I didn't get a good picture of them.

There was a fair bit of snickering among the neighbors when I was out in early May with spindly little corn plants that we'd grown from seed, so success is rather vindicating.

The broccoli is also doing well, I'm not sure at what stage to harvest it--I imagine one waits some until the head gets larger. Alas, the cauliflower has not done so well. Two plants grew great guns and then keeled over, either in the wind or from too much rain. A third never really started and a fourth soldiers on.

Also around the back of the garage, the two beds are doing well. We've been eating the lettuce, the carrots are getting to be a good size but need to turn a bit more orange, and the onions are starting to mature. We've harvested a few early onions but I'm trying to leave the rest alone to become a bit bigger for storage.

I snuck under the deck to have a look at the tomatoes from behind and tie them up to the stakes some more. After weeding out more of the accursed creeping bell flower (die, die, die!), I was pleased to see we have a nice crop of tomatoes starting to form. Still green but a good size.

These plants have about another four feet to grow before they run out of stake and deck railing, but I'm not sure they'll make it before I have to top them to get them to ripen. On the side of the house, I already topped one plant as it ran out of room to go upwards.

Up next: Some summer flowers are out and looking nice. There is an aster in the back and a very pretty hosta. I also need to get out and start weeding and spading up some perennials so I can shift the potatoes to a different bed next year.

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