Last year’s attempt to emulate the Native American style of companion planting ended successfully for the corn, okay for the beans and not very well for the pumpkin. (Yes, I mean we only got one pumpkin.) In theory, the corn should support the vines, the beans should provide nitrogen and the pumpkins should crowd out the weeds. That’s the theory, at least; my practice wasn’t perfect.
To improve on that newbie run, we did things a bit differently this year:
1) Planted the beans/pumpkins slightly later than the corn—about a week or so. This gave the corn time to grow enough to shade the beans, which apparently don’t like too much sun.
2) Supported the beans on lightweight teepee-style trellises—DIY bamboo sticks tied with string. The fancy cedar ones we used last season looked swell until the first hard rain loosened the soil and bam! Down went the whole kit-and-caboodle on the teenaged corn.
3) Fenced early. Plan to keep the barrier in place until harvest. No sense in giving the varmints any advantages!
4) Staked the corn when necessary. Those vine tendrils can pull down baby corn stalks just as effectively as a heavy downpour. Maybe I need to plant the beans two weeks after the corn?
Meanwhile, the hot, wet weather seemed to be absolutely perfect for growing ornamental corn. Lots of compost from the winter duck pen didn’t seem to hurt either so maybe you could put it this way:
The ducks went and now the corn goes.
If you wanted to be cheeky, that is.
Copyright 2013, Lori Fontanes