By JO ERBSKORN
I told you last week about losing our first sweet corn to raccoons. Well, with his usual bulldogging attitude, my husband Googled what to do, talked to people he knew who grow corn, and trotted down to The Anderson’s to talk to their gardening pro.
What he came up with was a natural product that is supposed to deter the raccoons. He brought it home and sprayed it on the patch, and all I have to say is it deterred me from going out there—it stinks very badly. You can bet I will be washing the corn very thoroughly. It seems to have worked, though. Today he brought in a half dozen ears and they did not stink.
Everything in the garden is moving so slowly with the exception of the weeds. Where do they all come from? Art took a ton of them out of the garden over the Fourth of July and they are back again. He is constantly pulling weeds. I must say that both of us are very obsessive about the garden.
We are finally starting to get a few ripe tomatoes and some squash, and the okra is doing well. I thought the peas were pretty well done for this season, then today Art said they are blooming like crazy again and the vines look great. I am really excited to have green fried tomatoes if the big guys would just mature a bit faster. Green fried tomatoes made in a cast iron skillet are wonderful. Sliced raw tomatoes with a little salt and pepper are often on the supper table. So far we have harvested a handful of grape tomatoes and three romas. Usually by this point in the summer we have been enjoying fresh tomatoes for some time. The rain this year sent everything into a tailspin.
Have you seen the new grafted plants out there? Being a nut to try new things, these fascinate me. They take the root stock of one plant and graft another on top of it. For example, one type of tomato on the bottom and another kind grafted to the top. The idea being that in a small area you can have a wider variety of produce. Nurseries are doing this with tomatoes, cucumbers, watermelons and peppers. I’ve only seen grafted peppers in the local nurseries, never a tomato plant or it would have come home with me. I think this type of gardening would be perfect in containers for the person with a terrace or balcony.
Another new advancement in seeds is that most seed companies are now listing GMOs. If the seeds have been genetically altered in any way it is noted on the seed packet. Other companies proudly announce they are GMO free. GMOs are controversial and many people steer clear of them. My son is finishing a degree in dietary science and part of his studies include GMOs and the effects on health. It is a very interesting science.
It is interesting to read about all the new things in gardening. Even if you don’t have a computer it is possible to glean good information from the public library. Our library has many books on different areas of gardening.