Hoeing corn, planting potatoes, sowing fall broccoli and cabbage

Corn at sunrise. Credit Wren Vile

Corn at sunrise.
Credit Wren Vile

More of our time in the garden this week is taken up by harvesting (a sign of success), leaving less time to stay on top of the weeds. On Thursday (June 19) we sowed our fourth of six sweet corn plantings. We have a system I like that helps us stay on top of sweet corn weeds. Each time we sow sweet corn, we hoe the previous planting, thin the plants to one every 8-12″ in the row, and wheel hoe or till between the rows. We have got two Valley Oak wheel hoes that we really like. The handle height is adjustable and they are available with different width hoes (and other attachments).

Courtesy of Valley Oak

Courtesy of Valley Oak

We also hoe the rows of the corn planting before that, and till between the rows and sow soybeans. Soybeans will grow in partial shade, handle the foot traffic of harvesting, and provide some nitrogen for the soil. When we harvest the corn we pull out any pigweed that has somehow survived our earlier efforts. I learned at a workshop on Sustainable Weed Management, that pigweed puts out its seeds in one big burst at the end, so pulling up enormous pigweed is worthwhile, if it hasn’t yet seeded. (Actually you can see it for yourself, but before the workshop I hadn’t noticed!) Our soil has improved over the years, so it is now possible to uproot the 5ft pigweeds. Sometimes we have to hold the corn plant down with our feet, but we do almost always succeed in getting the weeds out.

Today we at last got our June potatoes in the ground. We had planned for Saturday, but the forecast had rain in it, which would have messed up our chance to do the tractor work to cover and hill them. So we postponed till Monday. Well, no rain happened on Saturday, but a big rain happened early Sunday morning! Grrr! So we postponed till today (Tuesday), and happily were successful. June 16 is our ideal date, giving the potatoes plenty of time to grow before our average first frost date of October 21.

I found some interesting maps at Plantmaps.com. You can zoom in on your land. The site also has last frost, winter-hardiness zone, heat zone, drought monitoring, record highs and lows, ecoregions and native plants, on maps for the whole of the USA, and at least parts of Canada. Twin Oaks is in ecoregion 64b – Trap Rock and Conglomerate Uplands!

Yesterday I sowed our first round of broccoli and cabbage for the fall. I sowed 6 kinds of broccoli (Tendergreen, Fiesta, Diplomat, Green magic, Gypsy and Arcadia) and 6 of cabbage (Faroa, Early Jersey Wakefield, Tribute, Kaitlin, Melissa and Deadon)

A happy cabbage plant. Credit Kathryn Simmons

A happy cabbage plant. Credit Kathryn Simmons

We also sowed more squash (Zephyr and Spineless Perfection Zucchini) and cucumbers (our standard General Lee, or Generally, as we prefer to call it) this week. And released some pedio wasp mummies to kill the Mexican Bean Beetles organically. You can read more about how we do this here.

Now we’re fully caught up on planting, we can attack more of the weeds.