Sweetcorn Surprise

One of the best things about growing is that you never know it all. There’s always a surprise and something knew to discover. Today’s surprise was the sweetcorn. I thought I’d harvested all that was worth having and so intended just to clear the stalks today. However, I ended up with about 15 cobs.

Admittedly small cobs and some were only part fertilised, but they’re a bonus crop and they say you shouldn’t look a gift horse in the mouth.  I do seem to have the knack with sweetcorn, even the bad years aren’t too bad.

I got down to the site around 3 with plans, that’s another rule of growing – plans never seem to work out quite as you hope. First of all I saw Larry, our site rep, and updated him on our prospective move. We hope to exchange contracts next week.

Well we got chatting, so that took a little longer than expected. His plot is looking really well for the time of year. Got to say it, some of the nicest Brussels sprouts I’ve seen. I reckon he’s been hanging around with the NVS growers for too long. Not only growing well but he’s diverting questions about how he did it and what variety. LOL

Finally headed down the path to the plot where Jim & Derek were so we whiled away another quarter of an hour putting the world to rights. You know, chatting on the plot has to be one of the highlights of allotmenting. Not just gardening advice but learned discussions on just how badly the government are running things and the relative efficiencies of local posties.

After clearing the sweetcorn, I harvested a few more squash and popped them onto the table to cure. With the move coming up, we really don’t want to increase the amount of frozen food. Shifting frozen produce is a bit of a problem, so we’ve been trying to run the freezers down as much as possible. All we’ll need to do with the squash and pumpkins is pop them in a sack and put them on the van.

Yet more courgettes. I think allotment sites across the country are full of people trying to give away courgettes now. Children crying as they look at their dish of courgettes for breakfast, the courgette sandwiches in the lunch box and a tea-time snack of, well you get the picture!

A nice handful of runner beans went into the bag next. I thought I’d cut back too far with the beans this year, just eight plants climbing teepees that blew over, but we’ve had more than enough to keep us going.

Back in the greenhouses, the cucumber was finished. We’ve done incredibly well from just one plant. I’d had half a dozen in the greenhouse until one night an army of snails attacked, leaving just one survivor. Still, she’s performed magnificently.

The two sweet peppers in the border haven’t done very well, just a few fruits, but I put that down to being shadowed by the cucumber foliage. That just leaves two chilli peppers in the small greenhouse.

The large greenhouse yielded another half dozen sweet peppers and nearly a full carrier bag of tomatoes. The majority will end up in the freezer (oops, yet more to move) but some will turn into tomato soup. I’ll omit the celery, though. That’s one vegetable I really hate. Val likes celery but I think it tastes poisonous.

The last surprise of the day was it started to rain. When I headed to the plot it was lovely and sunny. A warm autumn day. But the clouds gathered and it was spitting as I left. I really hoped we’d have an Indian summer this year but such is life. Maybe next year will be a blazer for us.

Posted in Allotment Garden Diary
4 comments on “Sweetcorn Surprise
  1. Steve in Salford says:

    Dear John

    Aside from the odd surprise with what was one year a bonanza and the following year a famine, our worst enemy (excluding slugs and snails)is the weather.

    When we have time to go to tend out plots the weather is against us and when we do not have the time it’s sunny. Funny old world, the last two days here in sunny Salford have been days I could have used but agonies with the abscess in my mouth meant another sleepless night.

    So whilst I might have had the will in spirit to tend my plot, the body has failed me, oh the agonies of advancing years.

    There is always a demand upon our time whether it be shopping, cleaning, cooking or just plain old work there never seems to be enough hours in the day. For me it is compounded by the fact that I am reliant upon public transport to get to my allotment plot 3 miles away. The direct bus stops running just after 7pm and does not run at all on Sundays. Admittedly, it is only a 10 minute walk either way if there is no direct bus but the sheer inconvenience of it all at times is too much for one to bear.

    Well the best layed plans of mice and men, are at the whim of good old mother nature. Good Luck with the pending move, fingers crossed. We all will look forward to the daily trials and tribulations of your small holding in North Wales.

  2. Andy says:

    For the last two years despite putting protection around the plants we have lost our sweetcorn to badgers. This year we were rather proud of what we had grown; many other allotment holders were commenting on the beauty of our sweetcorn. So, we decided to build a suitable “colditz style compound” around it to keep the pesky badgers at bay.

    Sadly they persevered and removed most cobs; so we have to admit defeat – that’ll be the last time we grow sweetcorn.

    Sad really as we used my son’s love of sweetcorn to encourage him to eat peas by telling him it was Irish sweetcorn!

  3. Michael Snelgrove says:

    Some very good sweetcorn this year, but many cobs either completely or half-stripped of kernels. I found earwigs inside some, but my neighbour reckoned it was either pigeons or one of the crows that have been hanging round the allotment.

  4. John says:

    Are you sure the kernels had developed? If the outer leaves were intact, then I’d blame poor fertilisation. Pigeons can be a pest with sweetcorn, but you can tell as the covering leaves are pulled off.

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