By Jannie Vaught
With the past year of empty shelves and higher prices for just about everything. Many are returning to the “Victory Garden”. With this has come shortages of seeds, transplants, and the products needed to start seeds under lights. Seedling trays, Grow lights, and even seed and potting soil. Some are purchasing large amounts of bulk seeds for storage. When you purchase and intend to store them for next coming years, you need to be sealing them in airtight bags. No light and in a food-grade container with an airtight seal!! Every year you will lose germination no matter how secure you have them unless you can freeze them in a subzero freezer. And if you are growing to save seeds you have to grow Heirloom plants.
Let’s dig into what’s going in the ground here in our homestead garden. As we are in a good time to plant all things that grow above the ground according to the” Signs” I’ve been like a crazy person digging seeding and planting as truly I am a month behind due to weather. Peas, bush, and pole are in the raised beds. As are green beans. One area of corn is about ready to plant as soon as this next cold snap passes through. I did go heavy with flower seeds and started inside and direct seeding for Nasturtium. Petunias and marigolds as an insect repellant. for us with the vine borer problem plant squash soon or wait till the end of June to try and be out of their cycle of laying eggs inside the vine. Chicory and some trial white zinnias. If you have planted Tomatoes and Peppers, you still need to be watching those temperatures. I am waiting to plant outside and if they are getting too tall and spindly I will re-pot them in a larger container. You can lessen their light to slow them down but nature does what nature does, no matter how we try to adjust the outcome. Next to plant is Sweet corn. My favorite is Silver Queen, but any sweet corn is good.
Prepare your field with as much compost as possible tilled in and smoothed. They are nitrogen hungry. 3 feet between and 12 inches between seeds is how our farm family always did it. That way if the weeds and grass get in you can run the tiller down the aisles. Now cover with some manure-rich alfalfa and cover the rows deep this will feed and smother weeds and grass. As corn is in the grass family they will compete for nutrients if they are close to a grassy lawn or too much grass gets in the field. Make the patch of corn in hill and ditch to water or put in soaker tape getting that water directly on the soil and Never water overhead especially when they are tasseling and the pollen is falling onto the corn silk even rain at this time will wash [pollen off the silks and you will have some corn with no kernels as it was not pollinated.
I’m putting a tall post or wooden stake every few feet and will do a Florida weave or weave some stout string in and out down the rows, as I have wind blowdown every year just when the leaves get large and they are tasseled. Also, corn has a dual root system a crown forms above the main roots and you can draw the soil up around them Hilling them to keep them strong. If you are seed-saving corn they are wind pollinated and to keep them true to type plant only one variety as they will cross-pollinate. Yes, the weather is playing tricks on us, but remember we have a long hot growing season and sometimes patience is needed.
Growing Green With Jannie