Sunday, 3 November 2013

Planting out bloody butcher corn

I bought lots of native american corn seeds. If the organic place in the North Island (Koanga) had it, I bought it. In this case, the variety is called Bloody Butcher, and is good for sweetcorn and some other uses. For some reason, I searched for and found a web page that purported to detail how "the native americans" planted their corn using their "three sisters" approach. That is, planting corn alongside beans and squash. But not researching things properly, what I didn't do was grow enough seedlings to plant out a patch. And as I understand it, you need a decent number of corn plants placed closely together, as this is required to ensure pollination.

Anyway, here are the mounds on the pre-dug 10' by 10' garden bed. Let's ignore the fact that it is slightly smaller than 10' by 10' because I mismeasured.

2013-10-27 - Planting - Corn - Bed Preparation

The plants go on alternate mounds. On one, the corn gets planted, followed by the beans when the corn is 4" high. And on the next, the squash (or pumpkins) get planted, at the same time as the beans.

As you can see below, I've planted the corn kernels where I didn't have enough seeds. The difference in growth, is probably going to adversely affect pollination, so I'm going to have to hand pollinate.

2013-10-27 - Planting - Corn - Seedlings and seeds

There's still blue hopi corn seedlings to plant out (which I also do not have enough of), and black navajo (not enough of, and still need to dig out a bed for these) as well. Anyway, this is a lot more fun that just blindly transplanting normal seedlings into the long garden bed, or the two raised beds. Next year, I'll do it properly, which should reduce the work required.