"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Vegetable growing advice

I need some assistance from anyone who has successfully grown sweetcorn.

My sweetcorn experiment has had mixed results.  I have had some sweetcorn, but I have also had the following:

Exposed cobs with no silks...?

Now I know that I grew them in an unconventional way (on the retainer wall) but I have harvested a few - I would just like to know why this happened to some of them?

I would also like to share an idea I got from another blog (sorry, can't remember the blog address - that's a bad habit I have - reading someone's blog, seeing something I like and writing down the details, and then forgetting to note who's idea it was - my sincere apologies.  If it's your blog, please write to me so that I can correct this posting).

It's to do with creamed sweetcorn.

What you do is this:

Peel, and remove the silks from the head of corn.

Cut off the corn kernels - leaving a small amount of the kernels on the cob

Angling the knife almost perpendicular to the cob, drag the knife up "squashing" the remains of the kernels as you remove them, thereby releasing the sugars and creating corn with a sweet creamy texture.

Either freeze or use immediately - heat gently in your solar cooker for 30 minutes or in a pan on the stovetop.  Do not allow to dry out, otherwise you will loose the naturally sweet, creamy texture.

Serve with a knob of butter.  Absolutely delicious!

Finally, can anyone tell me why my 3 pumpkin plants aren't producing female flowers?  Plenty of male one's, but no females...  Very frustrating!


Leigh said...

I was hoping someone would have some answers because I had the same problems! LOL

This year I've done some research and learned that the male pumpkin flowers develop first, the females follow. So keep watching and let us know if this is true and how well pollination occurs! I may also try some hand pollinating next year, to ensure more than 2 pumpkins.

My corn ears looked like yours and the only thing I've been able to come up with was poor pollination, which a lot of things effect. Inconsistent watering was one of my culprits I'm sure. Also I had problems with lodging, where the plants keel over and don't stand upright. From what I read, if the stalks aren't straight up and down, the pollen can't fall on the tassels well, hence poor pollination.

These are just book answers though, not from my experience. Still, it's information I plan to utilize next year.

Mr. H. said...

I'm not sure about the corn but love the way you removed it from the cob. With pumpkins, or any squash, usually the first flowers are male, followed by both male and female flowers. There are usually more males than females so that pollination of the females has a better chance of taking place. Some people think that the male flowers appear first in order to attract pollinating insects with their larger more showy flowers...or something like that.:)

Dani said...

Leigh - thank you.

I have been hand pollinating my squash flowers - I didn't get many females on those 4 plants either. I'm at my wits end.

I water everything every morning (early - so it's not a lack of water.) Also, the squash are not in the retainer wall - bascially in neat comopst and they have plenty of air around the plants.

Poor pollination of my corn - I can understand, because of placing them in the retainer wall - that will not happen again - but was a worthy experience:-) Have lots of ideas for next year though LOL.

Dani said...

Mr H - the creamy corn is absolutely delicious!

Okay - so after the almost 50th male flower, perhaps I'll get a female... I've had about 40 so far and nary a sign of a female. I'll let you all know :-)

Wildflower Cabin said...

I enjoyed reading how to process creamed corn. My husband and son especially love it this way!
I had horrible problems with squash last gardening season. As you said, plenty of blooms, never one fruit....all summer long. I think we were lacking bees, for one thing, but I also purchesed them as small plants instead of growing them by seed and I wondered about that, but that really should not make any difference. I think we were low on bees. Have a good day!

Dani said...

Wildflower - dunno, I grew from seed. And we've got pleanty of bees :-)

Robyn said...

We live on a windy hill so I've always planted my corn in square or rectangular blocks, not single rows, or the pollen just blows away. I always mulch heavily too as corn has mainly surface roots that dry out quickly. Do you have a little grub over there that eats the corn silk and sometimes chews the end kernels like we have in Australia? It seems to hatch when the silk begins forming and eats it from the base so pollination can be uncertain and the result is silkless corn sometimes with the ends of the cob exposed. Good luck with your next corn crop.

Dani said...

Robyn - I haven't heard of the grub, but I have noticed some earwigs on the plants. Thanks - I'll check it out :-)