Reflecting And Moving Forward…

Sweet corn and green beans on 8-12-21 at 3:24 PM…

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. I am sitting at the desk in front of my computer a little after 2 PM scratching my bald head on occasion trying to think of what to say. It is 93° F outside and the wind has been blowing consistently for several days. Well, it is supposedly blowing in a storm. The different weather websites seem to have mixed opinions. The first time I checked the weather forecast in the drop-down menu on the top right of my screen the Weather Channel said there was a 40% chance this evening. Then I checked again about 1:30 and it said 20%. I checked the National Weather Service and it said it was on its way but I didn’t check the radar. I went to the garden about 3:30 to take photos for this post and there wasn’t hardly a cloud in the sky. Like I mentioned, it was 93° F.

OH, the doe has not been back in the garden since I redid the electric fence and added another wire around the top.

Sweet Corn ‘Ambrosia’ on 8-12-21 at 3:31 PM.

A few days ago when the wind started blowing, the ‘Ambrosia’ Sweet Corn started falling over. Luckily, I had already picked all that was ready and it may be finished. This is the first year I haven’t had to stand the corn back up before it was ready to harvest.

19 bags of ‘Top Crop’ Green Beans in the freezer so far.

I started picking green beans last week and started picking corn on the 8th. I was going to take a photo of the five-gallon bucket of green beans from the first picking but I forgot about it… In total, I have picked 12-13 gallons. Of course, I have already been eating some. I doubt I will can any because I don’t have time to watch the pressure canner. That was dad’s job. 🙂 Well, I suppose I have time, but I just don’t want to do it. I think frozen beans taste fresher anyway. I just cut off the ends and freeze them whole. It is quite simple… Once I get the beans ready, I bring water in a couple of large stock pots to a boil, add the beans and blanch for three minutes, then drain and put them in ice water for three minutes. Then I scatter the beans out on sheet cake pans and put them in the freezer for three hours. You have to scatter the beans out thinly so when you pick them up they won’t be stuck together so bad. Since I like them whole, if they are stuck together they can break more easily when I get them to come apart to put them in bags. Doing it makes more sense than trying to explain it… Maybe I should have done a video or taken photos of the process. It’s an afterthought thing… 🙂 I use quart bags so I can bring a couple from the freezer in the basement as I need them.

231 ears of corn in the freezer as of 8-12-21.

The sweet corn did pretty well, but not as well as I hoped for. It isn’t quite finished and a good rain would help immensely. I picked the ‘Ambrosia’ first (the bi-color counterpart to Bodacious) and so far have frozen 98 ears of it. A few stalks had no “pickable” ears and some had none at all. The same was with the Bodacious, which I was able to freeze 133 ears from so far. I would say 70% of the stalks had one good ear so far. It wasn’t a pollination issue because there was plenty of it. 🙂 I also noticed the good ears were on top, while the lower ears were barely even filled out. You might think the pollen fell on the top ear, but the lower ears are on the opposite side of the stalk… The pollen landed on the silk just fine. Likely, it is a moisture issue and soaker hoses or T-tape would have been great. I don’t have either one and the sprinklers would have been useless with the corn being so tall… Much taller than me at this point. I hope to invest in a T-tape system at some point, but funds are extremely limited…

Sweet corn from the second for of ‘Bodacious’ on 8-11-21.

The second row of Bodacious was AMAZING with 54 beautiful ears. Some were quite large. If all four rows were like that… Most of the ears were filled out from one end to the other. I have seen very few worms this year compared to last year. I have only seen two large caterpillars and four tiny green ones that hadn’t made it inside to the cob. There have been a few of those tiny black bugs… Hmmm… I identified them last summer but have forgotten what they are called and didn’t want to back and look. 🙂 OH, with the bi-color corn in the other section, some of the ‘Bodacious’ at the beginning of the rows have a few white kernels… That is perfectly fine and wonderful… All the corn I planted is SE (Sugar Enhanced).

Mind you, not all the sweet corn has made it to the freezer. About a week before I “officially” started picking the corn, I picked six ears of ‘Ambrosia’ and put them in a pot. They weren’t “quite” ready but I had to give it a shot. It’s funny how you can barely see the white kernels…

Yesterday, after I was finished with the ‘Bodacious’, I picked seven ears of ‘Incredible’ from the first planting. The biggest ear, before it was shucked, turned out to be a dud… Four out of the seven made it to the pan and they were indeed “incredible”.

Sweet Corn ‘Incredible’ on 8-12-21 at 3:26 PM…

SO, I have been eye-balling the ‘Incredible’… Although ‘Incredible’ can prove frustrating in the beginning, it will come around. I proved to myself this variety is very picky when it comes to soil temperature. Once you plant and replant and it gets going, it will live up to its name.

Sweet Corn ‘Incredible’…

Until 2013 when I came back here, I hadn’t grown sweet corn since the early 1980s. For the life of me, I can’t remember ever having any issues with it coming up or blowing over. I remember the first year, 1981 after my grandfather passed away in April, I moved to the farm. I planted 14 rows of sweet corn and only ate a few ears. Grandpa had quite a clientele of elderly ladies that bought his produce and they bought everything I could grow. One man bought all my green beans… 110 pounds!

Hmmm…

I have been pulling up what I “thought” were Morning Glories in the green beans and sweet corn. There is one climbing all over the Asparagus and a few days ago I noticed it had a lot of buds. I thought, “HMMM… That is NOT a Morning Glory.”

Cynanchum laeve (Honey-vine Climbing Milkweed)…

DOUBLE HMMM… I took photos, as you can see, and uploaded them on iNaturalist. Low and behold it is a Milkweed! Well, certainly not in the way we think of as Milkweeds. The scientific name is Cynancum laeve, commonly known as Honey-Vine Climbing Milkweed… I took photos of another vine that has bigger flowers in the briar patch along the south hayfield that turned out to be a Hedge Bindweed. It had bigger flowers like Morning Glories… How many species of these things are there anyway? What happened to the regular old Morning Glories?

Sweet Corn ‘Incredible’…

Where was I? I am just going down the grid of photos as I took them… Oh yeah, the sweet corn. Yesterday I found a stalk with five good-sized ears but I didn’t have the camera and today I couldn’t find it. I was walking through the corn without a long-sleeved shirt on and my arms were beginning to get itchy…

Smut…

There is only one stalk of corn with smut this year. I had to leave it because I wanted to get a photo. Smut is very interesting in a weird kind of way. Last summer I wrote a little about it and how it is actually edible. Well, I am certainly not going to fry any up and give it a shot. It looks way too weird…

Sweet Corn ‘Incredible’..

The last planting of ‘Incredible’ has a ways to go yet but it is looking very well… At least at 3:31 PM when this photo was taken…

One of the ‘Celebrity’ tomato vines…

The tomatoes are SLOW this season because I was late getting them in the ground.

Tomato ‘Celebrity’…

I have picked one already and one is almost ready…

Tomato ‘Brandywine’…

The ‘Brandywine’ tomato vines have grown like crazy!

Tomato ‘Brandywine’…

I have only found two tobacco worms and NO armyworms this year (yet). Hopefully, there won’t be anymore.

Moving along from the garden…

Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ on 8-12-21…

The clump Hosta ‘Potomac Pride’ is normally at least 2′ tall and over 50″ wide… Thanks to the doe it has not been able to grow… Normally, the deer nibble on the ‘Potomac Pride’ just a little when the Hosta first start to leaf out in the spring then don’t bother any of them the rest of the year.

Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ on 8-12-21…

The Hosta ‘Dancing Queen’ has met a similar fate. Sadly, the ‘Krossa Regal’ are basically non-existent… I am certainly not happy with the doe… I know it has to be the same one, because I have seen her occasionally in the pasture behind the house all by herself. There is plenty to eat for her in the pasture/hayfield. Oh well, even though the Hosta are shot this summer, hopefully, the doe will relocate and I can find a solution to keep her out of them by next spring. I can’t very well relocate the shade bed and I don’t intend to put up an electric fence around such a small area…

 

When I was mowing last week, I noticed the right front wheel was getting a little wobbly… Earlier this spring, I had to replace the entire steering rod… Since dad and I brought this mower home it has had its issues. It’s a John Deere LT120… It mows weird, but I think I have that issue figured out… It was all about changing the way I mowed from a 36″ deck to a 48″deck… The Gator blades I started using last summer are still working fine.

Instead of using bearings in the wheel, there are only two bushings… They wear out quite often, as I have just found out. I hadn’t paid much attention until I noticed the wheel wobbling when I was turning. I thought the steering rod gizmo was about to have another issue. I drove the mower into the garage, jacked it up, and had a look… Then I went to the internet and found out people are replacing the bushings with bearings. I did NOT even call John Deere for a price on the conversion kit because they can be bought on Ebay (or Amazon) for at least half the price. The kits on Ebay run from $19.95 on up and include new washers and hubcaps for both wheels… I decided since all I needed were the bearings I would buy four for $9.95 and use the same washers I already have. If I need new washers, I can get them at the hardware store for a few cents… You would think the wheels would have had bearings in the first place. The spindles (axle) are kind of worn because of the bushings cutting into them, but I will have to replace them at a later date…

I went back inside at about 4 PM and decided to have a nap and finish the post later on. Maybe after dinner… There was not a cloud in the sky… The next thing I knew, it seemed to be getting dark and the wind was blowing like crazy. I got up and looked outside and the clouds had arrived…

Looking toward the garden from the front porch at 6:04 PM…

At 6 PM it started POURING like crazy. I went to the front porch and took a shot… The wind had completely changed directions and now was blowing out of the north.

The garden at 6:44 PM…

After the rain stopped, I went to the garden to have a look… The temperature has really dropped! Looking back at the first photo taken at 3:24 PM, you can see the ‘Ambrosia’ had blown to the north since the wind had been blowing out of the south for several days. At 6:44 PM is more leaning toward the south because the wind switched directions…

 

Sweet Corn ‘Incredible’ at 6:45 PM…

The ‘Incredible’ blew over a little. It could have been much worse…

Sweet Corn ‘Incredible’ at 6:45 PM…

From the north side… It doesn’t appear any of the stalks have been broken…

Sweet Corn ‘Bodacious’…

Not to bad… I have seen it MUCH, MUCH worse. Then again, we have more rain and wind in the forecast through Saturday evening.

View of the sweet corn from the northwest corner at 6:45 PM…

I knew we couldn’t get through a season without the corn blowing over but I was kind of hopeful. We certainly did need the rain so I am not going to complain. I have learned to accept the weather no matter what it does. I had to come back inside because it was starting to rain again.

I checked the rain gauge and it said 7/10″. The temperature dropped from 93 F to 70. That’s a 23° drop! Well, it sure cooled things off a bit and I am sure thankful for the rain. I guess the wind blowing the corn around a bit helped to get the moisture to the roots.

There is more rain, and wind, coming so I won’t bother standing the corn back up until it is finished… Well, we will see about that. It depends. The ‘Ambrosia’ and Bodacious’ were just about finished, but the rain may help what is still not ready. It will certainly help the ‘Incredible’, so I will definitely stand it back up…

Well, now it is 8:54 PM. Time to cook something for dinner. Hmmm… Grammarly says I have four errors but I want to eat dinner. SO, if you read this post before I edit it, you may find some mistakes…

Until next time, be safe, stay positive, and always be thankful!

18 comments on “Reflecting And Moving Forward…

  1. tonytomeo says:

    Oh, brother! I think that if I ever grow corn again, it will just be in a small quantity. (I do not freeze it, and canned creamed corn sort of defeats the purpose of growing it ‘fresh’.) Anyway, I would be totally bummed if it blew over, even if harmlessly so. I dunno. Maybe rain would distract me. We get no rain until October or so. That is why everything is so combustible.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello, Tony! Well, you know I am always prepared for the corn to blow over. Since it took this long for it to happen I thought maybe it wouldn’t this year. Last year it happened on July 1, 20, and maybe again but I don’t remember. Everything is a little behind this year because of the late start. It has been very dry here until today and we had been advised to avoid burning. Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Littlesundog says:

    I envy you your corn! What a nice crop! We like to put them on the pellet grill this time of year. Here, we have planted corn in the past and either the raccoons get it or the deer jump the fence and get it. I gave up years ago. Like you, I freeze most everything. Canning takes too much of my day away. My tomatoes were in late too, so I’m just now getting enough for slicers – this is the first year my Brandywine haven’t been attacked by insects. They’re lovely. Other than that my cherry tomatoes are going gangbusters, and once my Romas, Celebrities and some unknown yellow tomatoes ripen, I’ll be up to my elbows making smoked, roasted tomato sauce! I have over 80 plants this year!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lori! WOW! 80 TOMATO PLANTS! That’s AAAALLLLOOOOTTTT! You will be very busy! I only have nine this year compared to the usual 16. Luckily, I haven’t had any worm issues yet. Last year was insane, especially with the armyworms. Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Littlesundog says:

        I am seeing more army worms than usual, but so far nothing to bad. I usually have a few plants that never produce (not sure why) and some tomatoes are lost to turtles, birds and squirrels. Same with sweet tater plants. Squirrels really do a number. But, I have a good attitude about sharing with the wild critters. There are always plenty of tomatoes to make my annual supply of grilled, roasted tomato sauce. Your corn looked delicious! I don’t think you can ever have too much corn!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Weird some of your tomatoes don’t have fruit. I have no problems with critters in the garden, it’s just the deer eating the Hosta this year. I had a vole issue when I grew potatoes and sweet potatoes a few years ago but I think the mole repeller has solved that issue. The corn is great! I froze 380 ears last year, but I have my doubts I will get that many this time around.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. Jim R says:

    Things seem to be growing well for you. Good eating ahead. I’ve harvested basil and made pesto sauce to freeze. Lots of cherry tomatoes 🍅 keep us supplied for salads. I froze 4qts of Big Boy tomatoes. We ate the rest in BLTs. More are on the way. A local farmer supplied all the corn we could eat. The bounty is good.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Suzassippi says:

    I have not thought about freezers full of corn or beans (or black-eyed peas) since 1963. 🙂
    Looks great though!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. bittster says:

    That freezer looks great, and the corn looks perfect. Glad to hear the pollination has been well and the earworms are somewhere else 🙂
    I never got around to planting my beans this year, just a few pole beans and those will all get eaten fresh. Last year I froze a bunch like you did and they are excellent during the colder months!
    Glad you got some rain.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Frank! The rain helped cool things off a bit. Even though it sprinkled off and on all night, there was still only 7/10″ the next morning. The other rain in the forecast didn’t happen… Getting a late start planting took a toll on green bean production. The first picking was great, but only fair after that. The heat causes most of the flowers to abort. The beans are still flowering and there are still a lot of smaller beans in the making. I haven’t planted pole beans since I lived in Mississippi but I would like to again in the future. Beans and corn from the freezer are indeed great during the winter. I am always hoping to get enough to last until the next harvest but you just never know… I planned on planting earlier and making succession plantings, but the lingering cool temps this spring didn’t allow that. As always, there are those “should have done” thoughts. Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. shoreacres says:

    Summer in Iowa meant tomatoes and sweet corn. I’ve been trying to find decent corn here in Texas, but it’s hard, and most of the time it’s not up to Iowa standards. This year, we got too much rain for the tomatoes at the end of the spring and there was a lot of splitting going on, but it won’t be ALL that long before it’s time to put in fall gardens, and we’ll have another shot at it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Linda! Glad to hear you will be able to plant a fall garden. I don’t usually do a fall garden because I would have to do a lot of watering when I plant it (the hydrant is 200′ away from the garden). We get our first “F” in October so we have a short window of opportunity. By the time I realize I need more of something it is too late. I’m not sure what I would do if I lived somewhere I couldn’t plant sweet corn in my own garden. That would be a bummer! It is so good and I would certainly miss standing it back up when the wind blows it over. I am not sure how my tomatoes will turn out. I have only picked two and the rest are still green. GEEZ! It’s August 14 already! Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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