July 5, 2010

"Knee High by the Fourth of July"? Guess again!

If I don't write a lot about our vegetable garden, it's because vegetables are... well, boring.  ("Plant a radish, get a radish not a Brussels sprout...")  When ever I read someone waxing rhapsodic about the joys of wide rows or some new kind of beet, I turn the page. 

And so here is a mercifully brief update on our vegetable garden, which is not on our property but, rather, is part of the Community Garden a mile away.  We have a 20'x65' plot, intensely planted at this point with lettuce, beets, chard, dill, green beans, okra, peas, summer squash, winter squash, tomatoes, eggplant, artichokes(!) basil, carrots, parsnips, peppers, leeks, onions... and corn.

There are three squares of corn, each at least five rows by roughly ten plants.  We planted the first square with a variety called 'Quickie' from Pinetree Seeds on May 15, two weeks earlier than is considered safe in New England. Spring thus far had been warmer and wetter than normal and so we decided to push our luck.  Quickie is, as the name implies, a fast-growing corn - 65 days from planting to maturity.  It's a hybrid, bi-color corn that is advertised as being especially sweet for northern climates.

There's an old saw about corn's progress: 'knee-high by the Fourth of July'.  Quickie met that standard by mid-June.  As the accompanying photo attests, this corn has, 49 days after planting, reached a height of nearly five feet.  The stalks have already tasseled out and each one bears several ears.  The corn is obviously immature, but July 20 seems like a realistic date to be enjoying fresh corn.

As to the rest of the garden, we're enjoying lettuce, peas, chard, herbs and beets; and our first zuccini is ready to pick.  Double-click on the photo at right to get a sense of how the garden is designed.

(Follow-up note:  we picked our first sweet, ripe ear of 'Quickie' corn on July 15. )

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