Sunday, 13 September 2015

Down In The Corner Of The Garden


Over the last couple of weeks, we’ve been taken on a journey to just outside a little hamlet called Germantown, about 2 and 1/2 hours drive from New York City.
We’re surrounded by mountains in the distance, the Catskill Mountains to the west and the Berkshire's Mountains to the east. So far, the Northern Hemisphere trees have been identified with the help of a local arborist, and some shrewd detective work on Glenice’s part.
Central garden area. Photo Glenice Buck
The barn on the property is now the residence. Outside the back door of the barn there is a stone patio area then a grassed area with a few mature trees; two old Gleditsia, stone fruit, a Magnolia, Lilacsm Pin Oak, White Oak and Shaggy Barked Hickories.
Looking towards the north point. Photo Glenice Buck

So what next in this design series?
Talking with Landscape Designer Glenice Buck.
Let’s find out some more by listening to the podcast.

After being there for a week, Glenice had a clear idea of how she wanted to define the areas and also the order in which these needed to be built.
By chance the property was in the shape of a boomerang which is quite serendipitous because it now is in the hands of Australians.
Looking through the trees at the south point. Photo Glenice Buck
Nonetheless, there were still no requests for gum trees of banksias or wattles, but instead using the native vegetation and the idea of creating 3 zones.
Plus, all the things that a lot of gardeners really want, like the veggie garden, compost bin and play areas for the kids and if you have the space a fruit orchard.
They also wanted to attract bees, birds and butterflies to their garden. What real gardener doesn't?
Of the zones, the north point became the arboretum or orchard area and the south point became the woodland that surrounded the pond. Mulched pathways were introduced to lead you through the existing trees. Underplanting was with Trilliums, Toad Lilies, Brunnera, Ferns, Viola, Polygonatum and Pulmonaria.


Is there a fruit or vegetable you detest?
Maybe it’s the texture of it in your mouth you can’t stand, or the smell puts you off, especially when it’s being cooked.
I’m not talking allergy type of detest, but purely because, Nah… you just don’t like it.
You don’t order any food that even has a slight hint of it being there.
That’s my lot with corn.
Well, after four years of broadcasting, I’ve only mentioned sweetcorn once, and it’s time to look over what corn cob lovers want to hear.
So you might think I know nothing of corn growing, but no, from my years at Yates in technical advice, it seems that growing corn has it’s fair share of problems and I’ve heard and solved most of them.

Fast Facts

Sweet Corn  or Zea mays var. saccharata  is a grass, native to the Americas.
Yep, a grass.
But wait, Corn is actually a vegetable, a grain, and a fruit.
It’s a vegetable because it’s harvested for eating; a grain because it’s a dry seed of a grass species; and a fruit because that’s the botanical definition.
Corn (Zea mays) is sometimes called a vegetable grain.
Did you know that a vegetable is defined as a plant cultivated for an edible part or parts such as roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or seeds/fruit, corn is a vegetable?
If you wanted to be very picky, all cereal grains could be called vegetables, but by convention we separate the cereal grains from the rest of the "vegetables" such as peas, lettuce, potatoes, cabbage
Corn has a long, long history.
Apparently tiny ears of corn have been discovered at ancient village sites on the Mexican plateau or the highlands of Guatemala.
Kernels dating back to 6600 BCE have also been found in caves in Mexico.
There’s even evidence that in central Mexico, about 7000 years ago, sweetcorn was domesticated from wild grass.
However, the fresh, or sweet corn, the kind we like to eat as corn on the cob, didn’t come about until the 1700s.
Along with wheat and rice, corn is one of the world’s major grain crops.
Would you have guessed that only 9 percent of all the corn grown is used to produce food for humans?
64% of all corn grown is used as feed for livestock.
Then there’s food manufacture which include corn meal and other food products such as cooking oils, margarine, and corn syrups and sweeteners (fructose) and breakfast cereals, flour.
But there’s also non-cooking uses such as dyes, paints, chemicals, Ethanol, a renewable fuel made from corn, has shown the possibility of becoming a major renewable fuel for the world’s automotive industry.
That’s just to name a few.
 Much of the corn now grown around the world is genetically modified for herbicide and/or pest resistance, so a good reason to grow it yourself.
Sweet corn belongs to the grass family. Poaceae
There are various different types of corn and some have been around longer than others.
By the way, Popcorn is made from a corn variety that dries on the stalk, while the corn we eat on the cob is referred to as sweet corn.
When to Plant-
You can plant sweetcorn all year round in tropical and subtropical climates, in spring and midsummer in temperate and arid zones and late spring to early summer in colder regions.
TIP: Before planting out your corn, soak the seeds in a shallow saucer of water overnight.
You can either sow the seeds directly into the garden, 25cm or a hand span apart in short rows 50-60 cm apart, or in seed trays.
Dig in some chook poo a couple
of weeks before you plant the corn.
By sowing your corn seed directly into the garden you mightn’t always get a 100% germination rate; and you may have breaks in your rows, particularly if you’re growing the high sugar varieties.
Try growing your corn in seed trays or in punnets first, then transplant the seedlings out into the garden, when they are 50 to 75mm tall.
You’ll have complete rows then.
Corn being a grass has no nectar or odour to attract a physical pollinator.
In fact all grasses are wind pollinated, so sweetcorn needs to be planted closely for pollination.
You could also try planting your corn in a circle.

Something you need to know.

If you’ve experienced partially formed cobs or a low amount of cobs it’s most likely a pollination problem.
Sweet Corn Tassels
Corn plants have separate male and female flowering parts.
The male flowers or tassel are at the top of the plant and female flowers or silks form the kernels on the cob.
Pollen grows on these tassels.
It then falls down onto the silks, or female parts of the plant.
Each silk is connected to a kernel of corn inside each ear.

Sweet corn silks

If pollen reaches the silk, it causes a corn kernel to grow.
If a silk doesn't receive pollen, the kernel stays small.
Tip:Don’t wet the tassels as they emerge.
If you have a small garden and are in need of space, you could also plant climbing beans and cucumbers in between the rows of corn, the beans and cucumbers will climb up the corm stems, making a temporary trellis.
The seed for the beans and cucumbers need to be sown out at the same time as the corn.                   
Pollination will result in a corn cob forming
Hints and Tips
A good tip is, once the corncob has been pollinated (the corncob tassels have gone brown and you can feel the cob forming) cut the top flower off about a 10cm up from the cob.   Hopefully this will let the plant concentrate on feeding the cob, making it grow larger and sweeter.

Remember: Corn likes lots of compost, comfrey, old animal manures, liquid fertilisers and heaps of mulch (around the main stem of the plant) give them a good soak around the roots, every second day, depending on the weather conditions

There are a number of heirloom varieties of sweet corn and maizes with different shapes and sizes.
There are golf ball shapes, bantam and lady-finger shapes.
There are a large variety of colours; multi coloured, blue, red, white, purple and the typical golden yellows and not forgetting 'pop corn'.

What’s the most asked question about growing sweet corn?
Q Poor germination and too few corncobs.
Can be caused by a number of problems. For example: 
 poor seed quality - if the seed is old or hasn't been dried or handled properly after harvest; 
 seed rots (Pythium and Rhizoctonia fungi); 
 planting into cool, wet soil, planting too deep and soil crusting.
Supersweet corn has lower vigour than normal sweet corn and needs warmer soil to germinate, but generally has poorer germination ability than normal sweet corn. 
 Uneven plant stands can also be caused by soil crusting and insects, mainly cutworms and wireworms; 
Nematodes, particularly root lesion nematodes, are often associated with poor crop establishment and growth.
Why is it good for you?
As corn cobs mature they develop more starches and sweet corn is one of the few vegetables that is a good source of the kind of slowly digested carbohydrate that gives you long-lasting energy.
Corn is an excellent source of dietary fibre vitamin C and niacin (one of the B group vitamins) and folate (one of the B group vitamins)
Corn is also good source of potassium to help balance the body’s fluids if you eat salty foods.
Lastly 100g corn kernels has 395kJ Corn is high in fibre.


Talking with the Plant Panel; Karen Smith editor of and Jeremy Critchley owner
These next plants are quite low growing but are the sort of plant that flower a lot and you can stuff here and there into rockeries and nooks and crannies in your garden, or if you like hanging baskets, they’ll trail over these.

They have a bit of a strange name so I’m surprised that marketers haven’t coming up with something more inspiring.

The flowers are pretty showy though so let’s find out what it is by listening to the podcast.

Bacopa is an evergreen  mat forming plant that grows about 5 - 10 cm tall and has stems covered in bright green, simple leaves that are slightly thickened.

If you plant your Bacopa in the garden it will make nice mat or groundcover
Bacopa has a five-petaled flowers which small  but profuse.

The colours vary from whites to pinks and mauves, depending on the variety.
Potted in planters, bacopa stems trail down over the container's edge and are especially attractive mixed with other plants in hanging baskets.
Growers now plant them up in Trixies and Mixies where 3 plants are grown in the same plug.
 Where to plant your Bacopa
Bacopa does best in a spot that receives morning sun and some afternoon shade.
It can tolerate being in full sun throughout the day if kept well-watered, although summer heat and full sun can cause the plant to droop.
This plant needs regular watering, especially during the first few weeks after planting, and isn't tolerant of dry spells or drought. Adding a 5 cm layer of organic mulch around the
It turns out that Scopia is just a name for a series of 16 varieties of Bacopa.

Among them are the Gulliver varieties, which have very large flowers.
If you’re area’s climate is really warm, then Bacopa doesn’t like to grow there so much.
However Bacopa does grow well in dappled and semi-shade so there’s another choice for all those gardeners that either have different amounts of sun and shade in their garden where they need a plant that can cope with both.

No comments:

Post a Comment