It’s a conspiracy

I tell, ya, it is!

That begs the question of whether a conspiracy can consist of only one person/entity, though. In my case, it’s Mother Nature. I swear, she’s trying to tell us that growing silver queen corn is out of the question.

Last year, even though I worked my ass off on the soil prep, the soil just wasn’t suitable for growing corn (or anything else for that matter). This year, we tried again after amending the soil yet again, but tilled that under and put the frames in to hold the corn.

Came right up. Looked really nice.

Corn Jul 3 2008

The orange netting? Guides for the corn. The plan is to raise the netting to support the corn as it grows, to a height of about three feet. Clever, eh?

Then, the bugs came: worms on the corn. Looking down into the whorls, it’s easy to see the worm shit and the damage the critters have done. Personally, I think the neighbors behind us are to blame for that, as they sprayed something rather horrific on the corn they planted along the fenceline, and I think that drove the moths over to ours – and by horrific, I mean so bad that it killed the blackberries vines growing along the fenceline where the stuff came down. The first spray I did on our corn was with an organic solution meant to smother the damn worm larvae when they hatched and started munching. But…

Then the rains came. We’ve had five inches of rain this week, and who knows how much more prior to that. Not only did this make it impossible to start rigging the netting and raising it to support the corn, which continued to grow very well indeed, it also washed away the spraying.

Last night, a Big One rolled through. Incredibly heavy rain (adding enough to our total that the pool crested at the edge of the coping), lightning that turned the edges of our vision red and blue when it flashed, and high winds.

Which, as you might imagine, blew over fragile things like young cornstalks.

At this point, I’m wondering if Mother Nature isn’t trying to tell us something here: grow stuff. Just not corn.

I went out anyway, since we’re only at 30% of a chance of rain today, and sprayed with neem oil all over the back forty corn. There’s standing water everywhere, so right now I’m unable to get out there and pound some rebar to set the rigging for the netting and get the corn righted once more – and this is important to do, as otherwise, it will happily continue to grow lying over and twist itself into strange shapes, and to try to get some kind of harvest at all in September.

Here’s hoping for a break from the rains to give the neem oil a chance to work and give me a chance to work as well. Here’s also hoping that the corn can be salvaged, because most of it looks awful from the worm damage. Bad case, it will just be another 90 day experiment that went awry and we’ll need to find a different place to put these frames. Worst case, it will just mean finding a source for organic corn somewhere around here, although with our own attempts, it’s fairly clear why few people grow corn and fewer still try to do so organically.

Oh, and the first round of corn, also blown over, that I managed to salvage? We’ve harvested about ten pounds from the stalks that survived. Not bad. For a rookie attempt at corn in frames.