Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Garden Habits + The Growth of Corn

A common habit I have when gardening is to identify a plant by it's smell.  I never bend down and sniff, but rubbing the leaves between my thumb and index finger gathers enough scent to aid my guesses.

Another habit is to take small harvests of my sage plant every time I walk about the garden.  I love having my mouth full of a fresh sage leaves - which tastes more like furry medicine than anything.

This is the first year our corn crop was selected by our kids.  They both love popcorn and, sometime in the spring, decided to throw way too many seeds into a tiny blue pot once used by my wife for oregano and other herbs.

In a magical world or highly advanced society, the corn plants would appear a foot tall the next day. Unfortunately, time is not on our side and lends us glimpses of growth only for the most patient of souls.  My kids would ask me each day, "Can I see how the corn plant is doing?", and I'd let them see.  Their faces showed some disappointment, especially compared to the speedy growth of a coffee plant.

Soon the time came where the frosts of winter retreated, and I placed a few corn plants down each week.  In New England planting early has almost always killed all of my former indoor plants due to surprise frosts, or pests like the Japanese beetle.  After a few months in the ground, 2 corn plants grew up to be taller than my son and very close to my height.  When they flowered, they were around 5.5 feet.  The corn plants that were installed into the garden after the early planted crop didn't grow anywhere near as tall.

My son witnessed all this growth and now instead of a stalk that was as big as his arm, he sees the stalk waving in the sun at heights he doesn't yet know.  Within his reach he can graze the hairy tops of the corn husks on the way.