Hello Corn!

We are just past the mid-point of summer and that marks the start of corn season. Tall,  tassel-headed corn is all around us, both in our garden and in the countless cornfields nearby that we drive past daily.

A ubiquitous August sight in rural Southern Ontario.

Unfortunately, the raccoons and crows have also noticed our corn so it's been a bit of battle. Eric wrapped an extra row of electric fencing around the corn to keep out the ground assault, and today he and Rose built a scarecrow to fend off the airborne pests.

Scarecrow outfitted by Winners, Modcloth and Old Navy. In other words, I own the lion's share of clothes in the relationship (plus Eric wears his clothes to shreds).

We had our very first taste of this year's corn at dinner last night with some of the runts and oddly shaped ears that won't make it into the boxes. The kids are expert huskers, which is great because I hate husking. Get to your Husking Station, girls!

At the Husking Station (our back step) with a bucket for the husks and two bowls for the corn (before and after).

Look for corn to make it into the boxes in the next two weeks. How long it lasts depends on how successful we are in fighting off the hungry pests!

Crows, beware!

C is for Cutworm

I've been dealing with these delightful creatures all spring:


They hide just under the soil during the day and at night they come out to feed on stems and leaves of young seedlings and transplants. The worst part is that they often curl around the stem and chop off the entire top of a newly planted transplant, effectively killing it instantly. So now I'm patrolling daily looking for damage and digging out the ones I can find, replacing the transplants (as long as I have enough backups!) As you can see, they curl into a 'C' shape when disturbed.

I suspect the population has been boosted somehow by the long cold winter and the wet early spring, since I didn't see any damage last year. But the real irony is that they are certainly taking a larger toll this year because of a management decision I made - planting earlier and smaller transplants - partly in response to pest pressure from a different caterpillar called the imported cabbage worm that I observed last year. It's been more work, but I thought it would pay off by mid summer...

The farmer became too busy when people began to investigate the world and decided that it would be “good” if we did this or that. All my research has been in the direction of not doing this or that. These thirty years have taught me that farmers would have been better off doing almost nothing at all.
— Masanobu Fukuoka, The One Straw Revolution

Simplify, simplify, simplify...