Mary's Veggie Garden

August 17, 2015

8/17/2015 Harvest Monday

Filed under: Corn,Edamame,Onions,Tomatoes,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 8:42 pm
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It was a fine day for harvesting. I wanted tomatoes with breakfast so I started early. It was only 68° F – cool enough to not sweat while wearing long sleeves and pants, my protection against ticks.

5 oz. of Jasper cherry tomatoes, about half today's harvest.

5.2 oz. of Jasper cherry tomatoes, about half today’s harvest.

A batch of Jasper cherry tomatoes, about half the harvest. I took the picture after eating them for breakfast and lunch. I’m harvesting about 1/2 pound of Jasper per day. I suspect the chipmunks are also getting some which is why I have 2 plants. For supper I cut a hand-full of Jaspers through the equator and used them to provide the liquid in a sauté of onion, beans and zucchini. The tomatoes retained their shape and the skins were tender.

Cucumber Sweet Success

Cucumber Sweet Success

I’m getting one, occasionally two, Sweet Success Cucumbers a day. They are so long that one per day is more than the two of us eat.

Rattlesnake pole beans.

Rattlesnake pole beans – 11 oz.

Rattlesnake green beans. I’ll freeze these because the previous harvest is still in the fridge.

After breakfast I biked the 2.5 miles to my community garden plot. I expected to harvest cherry tomatoes and maybe some onions but I returned with full panniers.

Sungold cherry tomatoes.

Sungold cherry tomatoes.

The Sungold tomatoes are starting to slow, the colander is not as full as last week. This is 1.75 pounds – the production of 4 plants for 2 days.

Copra onions,

Copra onions, curing on wire shelves in a protected area of the patio.

The tops of the Copra onions started folding over late last week. They seem much later than usual. I just checked –  Copra harvest started a week earlier in 2013. Then again, snow melt delayed the plowing this year,  so I planted the onions 2-3 weeks later than in 2013. Later planting didn’t delay the Cabernet onions – most of them are cured and in storage now.

Toyha edamame soy beans.

Toyha edamame soy beans.

It was getting hot, rising up through the eighties, but I forced myself to check the soy beans then decided it was necessary to start harvest. This is about a quarter of the planting:  2.75 pounds of edamame in the pod. A few pods contain no beans but it wasn’t as bad as I expected. Ten days ago I discovered the hose in the soy bed was not connected to the main feed line. The hose was hidden by the mulch and row cover. We’ve had only 3″ of rain in the last 6 weeks and the edamame did remarkably well without supplemental water.

Sweet corn Honey Select

Sweet Corn Honey Select

Just before leaving, I checked the corn. These are my first ears, from a 6/4 planting of Honey Select. At supper, my husband pronounced the corn just about perfect. I think the flavor is a bit ‘cornier’ than the “Incredible” that I’ve grown for the last several years but the two varieties are equally sweet.

By now it was noon, the temperature was above 90°F, and I was the only person remaining at the community gardens. The bike ride home was a slog  – I pedaled as little I could and still get over the hills, setting no speed records. A heatwave like this is unusual for August.  It seems to be cooling faster in the evening than during a June or July heat wave so my (non-airconditioned) house is not unbarable.

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December 16, 2012

Corn Compared: Sugar Buns vs. Incredible

Filed under: Corn,Vegetables — marysveggiegarden @ 2:23 pm

This year I grew two varieties of sweet corn, with the goal of eating fresh corn on the cob for a full month. My strategy was to plant two varieties with different times to harvest, and to separate the planting dates enough that one variety would be harvested before the second matured. Things didn’t quite work out as planned.

Click on any picture to enlarge. These descriptions are from the Pinetree Seeds catalog, where I got the seeds.

Corn Sugar Buns

Corn Sugar Buns

Sugar Buns – 72 days.  “A superb, early sugar enhanced hybrid with 7 inch ears and 14 rows of luscious kernels that pop in your mouth. With a great eating quality and long harvest, this corn is a top choice variety for your garden. Stalks are 5 to 6 feet tall.” The seed packet said soil temperature should be at least 68 ° F. at planting.

Incredible Corn! the big harvest!

Incredible Corn, the big  8/20 harvest!

Incredible Corn – 84 days. “This is our choice as the best main crop yellow corn for the home gardener. Ear length is a full 9.5″ with a diameter of 2″. Stalks are 8′ tall. Eating quality is definitely first rate due to the presence of the sugary enhancer gene. Color is an attractive bright yellow with a very tender kernel … This wonderful corn does not germinate well in even slightly cold or wet soil.”

I planted Sugar buns 6/1 expecting to start harvest around 8/12 and I planted Incredible 6/5 expecting to start harvest around 8/28 and end mid-September. Although I allowed a two-week harvest period for each variety,  these varieties ripen almost uniformly:  to get two weeks of corn I start harvest when the corn is on the immature side and pick through perfection.

Variety Planting Date First Harvest Last Harvest Number Ears Number Plants
Sugar Buns June 1 Aug. 2 Aug. 13 31 around 35
Incredible June 6 Aug. 13 Aug. 26 35 39

To be honest, I started harvesting Sugar Buns too early. It was much better colored at the end of its harvest – which means the 72 days to maturity in the catalog was accurate. However I prefer to harvest early, rather than late and over-mature.

Because I was already harvesting corn, I didn’t rush to harvest Incredible and it was more mature at the start of harvest. On 8/20, 76 days after planting I harvested about half the crop because it was in danger of becoming over-mature.  So Incredible matured in 70-76 days,  much faster in my garden than the 84 days predicted by the catalog.

Although I managed to get a full month of corn, the best and the heaviest harvest was in the two middle weeks of August. That is when Sugar Buns reached maturity and was quickly followed by the Incredible corn; I picked most of the Incredible corn between 8/13 and the big 8/20 harvest.

Planting Incredible a week later, around 6/15, might result in later harvest, so I wouldn’t need to rush the harvest of the first planting.

Germination

Sugar Buns Corn on July 1.

Sugar Buns Corn on July 1.

Incredible corn on July 1.

Incredible corn on July 1.

Sugar enhanced corn has a reputation of germinating poorly in cold, wet soil so I waited until June to plant.  The corn was planted in 3 rows running the length of a 4’x13′ bed with 25 seeds spaced 6″ apart in the rows. My plan was to thin out weak plants leaving 14-18 plants in each row.

Planted on June 1, Sugar Buns germination was unimpressive; there weren’t more than 18 sprouts in any row and there were several long gaps. I did some thinning, removing particularly weak plants. I should have removed every plant that looked weak, because some never produced any ears. I planted some of the gaps with edamame soy beans. The soy did not do well, probably because of the shade and competition from the corn.

Incredible germinated better than Sugar Buns; there were no big gaps in the rows and the seedlings were stronger. With more plants I felt free to thin out all the weak ones, and ended up with better spacing – plants 12″ apart with no big gaps in the rows. I squeezed two watermelon plants into small gaps – again this was a wasted effort.

Growth

The Sugar Buns planting on August 8, after most of the harvest was finished.

The Sugar Buns planting on August 8, after most of the harvest was finished.

The Incredible corn planting on Aug. 8, a few days before start of harvest.

The Incredible corn planting on Aug. 8, a few days before start of harvest.

The catalog descriptions are accurate; Sugar Buns produced a shorter stalk than Incredible. Incredible stalks were tall and stout. Several of the Sugar Buns stalks tipped over during a July thunderstorm while Incredible remained upright.

Taste
Sugar Buns kernels are sweet, juicy, and tender. They did not have a ‘corny’ taste. We preferred Incredible which was sweet, though slightly less sweet than Sugar Buns and had a definite light ‘corny’ flavor.

Sugar Buns produces smaller, more slender ears, to match its small plant while Incredible ears are heftier, matching its bigger plant.

Ears husked: top - the last Sugar Buns ear and the first Incredible ears, bottom.

Ears husked: top – the last Sugar Buns ear and the first Incredible ears, bottom.

L - Incredible, R - Sugar Buns

L – Incredible, R – Sugar Buns

These two pictures show the same ears before and after husking. It was the last ear of Sugar Buns and the first two ears of Incredible – enough for a meal for the three of us.

Problems 

Several ears of Sugar Buns had damaged kernels but there was no obvious damage to the husk.  Here is a close-up of the ear pictured above.

Damaged Sugar Buns corn ear - possibly caused by stink bug feeding.

Damaged Sugar Buns corn ear – possibly caused by stink bug feeding.

To me, the undamaged husk says Stink Bugs. The soybean pods were not damaged while the stink bugs fed on the beans inside. It’s not woodpecker damage: they will peck a row of kernels, but they tear the husk while pecking.

I did not find any damaged kernels in the Incredible ears. Maybe it’s because they were further away from the soy beans where stink bugs were feeding or maybe they have thicker husks.

Sugar Buns produced several (3-5) of ears with an open husk. I don’t know the cause. The corn was fine for eating.

Strange Sugar Buns corn ear.

Strange Sugar Buns corn ear.

Corn earworms: I sprayed the young corn ears with Bt, bacillus thuringiensis, while the silk was still yellow-green.  The corn had only a few earworms; I probably missed those ears while spraying. Without earworms to attract them, the woodpeckers stayed away.

Slow maturation: several (5-7) of my Incredible plants grew more slowly than the rest and tasselled later. Because the late plants were scattered around the planting, the ears got little or no pollination and the plants did not produce edible ears. Luckily other plants produced two good ears.

Next Year

My plan is to grow  three smaller plantings of Incredible corn, planted June 1, 10, and 22.

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