Tuesday, August 5, 2008

August 5, 2008

OMG, thank you Joe and Carrie!  If it weren't for you two I wouldn't have pollinated corn.  Actually, if it weren't for you AND succession planting, I wouldn't have pollinated corn.  Let me explain.

First off, you all know by now that I've been doing my Dopey impersonation by flicking corn silks for weeks on end now, all the while thinking that these were just pretty useless parts of corn stalks.

Thankfully I got frustrated enough that I commented on it in yesterday's blog entry and two knowledgable readers set the record straight for me.  So when I got home tonight, I checked these tassels for pollen.  Alas, it was past time for these mature tassels and I was out of luck.  That's where being lucky is better than being smart.  Since I succession planted my corn rows, I had tassels a few rows down that were producing pollen now.  So I could snip a tip off of a tassel and brush it through the silks of that variety.  I did it for both types.

Then to be certain, I did my tomato trick and shook the stalks to cause a cloud of pollen to settle down on top of the silks.  Finally, I'm thankful for the wide leaves that corn stalks have.  They caught a bunch of pollen on them.  I ended up with "aiming" the leaves at silks and blowing the pollen of them and onto the silks.  I hope the dried out silks still take the pollen (or maybe were already pollinated by the wind).  Now that I know what I'm doing the next set of stalks will be no problem.  It will only be the last succession planting that I have to worry about because I'll have to catch the pollen window to pollinate them.  No problem now.

I know you can't see any difference, but trust me when I say that this pic is post pollination.  I tried to take a pic of the leaves with all the pollen on them, but it was too small and too close for my phone to capture. 

While I was brushing I counted multiple stalks with two ears of corn growing on them, which balanced out the several stalks that were too spindly to grow any ears.  Still, if I can get 100 ears out of 44 SF, I'll be happy.  I don't need the 200 that is possible.

Well, after I did that, we went to the National Night Out for our city. I hope you all attended and got to know some of your neighbors.  While we were there we put in the suggestion for a Pea Patch or community garden for Mountlake Terrace.  Never know.  We also threw our support for a Farmer's Market, in the hopes of getting fresh produce shipped in from the far reaches of the Yakima Valley or Skagit Valley.  All in the hopes of eating more local, like the 100 mile diet. 

Speaking of that, we went with my brother, and afterwards we went back to his house and chatted gardens for an hour or two, hehe (my wife loved that /zzzzzzzzzz).  He's hoping to eat within a 250 mile range which stretches from Portland to Yakima to Vancouver BC.  That gives him great latitude to get semi-local items, including meat grown in Skagit Valley.  Still he mentioned the 90/10 ratio, or exception items.  I know I've talked about not wanting to give up bananas, which do not grow here (not practically anyway).  So things like that you just recognize that you're not eating 100% locally, but you're willing to splurge on certain items.  He's got a good point.

Ooh, I just remembered, I taught him about hand pollinating cukes!  His were too young to be able to clearly distinguish male and female flowers, but in a few weeks he should have tons of flowers to pollinate. He's doing Bread and Butters for pickling.  I can't wait to do a pickling party!

Lastly, on a random note, apparently my mom heard that I became interested in sourdough starters and wants me to make some to split with her.  She used to have one she kept when we were growing up, but it was pretty strong and I didn't like it as a child.  Now I can't wait to make the no kneed sourdough bread.  And my wife wants to make rosemary sourdough with our rosemary out back.  So creative that girl!

Anyway, it's late and I'm going to hit the sack, happy in the knowledge that Joe and Carrie saved my corn!  Thanks folks!

**NOTE: Sorry for the spelling errors. I can't spell my way out of a paper bag, and unfortunately Wordpress touted this wonderful upgrade without including the spell checker.  So after I begged and begged Judy to upgrade the software on the server (I have no clue how to do that and can't access her server), I didn't have the heart to ask her to upgrade to 2.5.1 to likely get my spell checker back.  And writing in Word and pasting into the blog throws off the font something fierce, so you just have to live with my poor spelling.  Sorry.**

Enjoy your garden!  I am mine tonight!

1 comment:

  1. The corn has certainly shot up!

    I have made Sour Dough with a starter in the past. I found a recipe that you do not add any yeast at all. You just put one cup of water with one cups of flour in a bowl , mix, cover with a dish cloth and let it sit on the counter until it starts to bubble. It is actual rather interesting process to do, how it just grows on its own from the air I guess.

    With you being in the PNW maybe you will end up with some of that famous yeast from San Fransisco.