September 10, 2011

Sweetcorn update!

The weather has definitely been on the Autumnal side lately, but today was actually really warm and lovely. So I decided to check on my sweetcorn to see if it was ready for eating.

Well the silks have now turned brown, which is apparently a good indicator of ripeness, so I had a little peak underneath the husks to see if my corn was ready yet.

Unfortunately it was still looking a bit undeveloped and pale - not the glorious burst of yellow sunshine I was expecting as I unwrapped my little maize parcel. When I squeezed one of the kernels the liquid that came out wasn't milky, so I wrapped this cob back up to be consumed another day.

read more about growing sweetcorn here


I've been growing carrots in the space around the corn in my raised bed and I decided to pull up the last remaining ones to give the corn all the resources it might need to finish ripening.

I was quite surprised how many carrots were actually left in the bed and how big some of them had grown! These were Chantenay carrots and I bought them as seedlings from Chessington Garden Centre (along with spring onion and leek seedlings as they were on offer 3 for £10) because I haven't had much luck growing carrots from seed.

The first few carrots I pulled out a few weeks ago were a disappointing size and were only good for using in a stir fry as a "carrot gesture". But these ones I harvested today were of a decent golf ball size. I'm pretty sure it's because they had longer in the ground, but also they had more space to grow after I'd pulled the first ones out. When I planted the seedlings they were in little clusters of 3 or 4 and I didn't pull them apart to space them out as I thought I would damage them too much. I also didn't thin them out when they were growing as I didn't want to encourage carrot root fly. As it happened my carrots didn't suffer from that pesky pest and I think growing spring onions in the same raised bed helped as the oniony smell confuses them. The only problem I had with my carrots was ants and aphids, which is what happened to me last year. My carrots were covered in ants and these other tiny white bugs which I initially thought were ant eggs. A search on Google revealed the white bugs were actually aphids and according to wikipedia:
Some species of ants "farm" aphids, protecting them on the plants they eat, eating the honeydew that the aphids release from the terminations of their alimentary canals.
So I waged war on the ants and grabbed an out of date jar of cayenne pepper and generously sprinkled it all over the carrots - boy did those ants run! Anyway, my carrots seemed to be fine after that and I will enjoy eating the fruits of my labour later this evening.


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