Friday, July 20, 2007

Take the Bad with the Good

Rain is a good thing. It makes things grow, the garden gets a good watering without my intervention, and the wild animals get a fresh water supply. The bad part, for me anyway, is that when it comes down as hard and as fast as it did yesterday, plants get flattened. Two and half inches registered in my rain gauge from yesterday alone. Some lettuce got knocked down, but not all. My hardy hibiscus got droopy and made a U turn once the sun came out, so it looks a little funky, but still quite healthy.

Now, I'll admit, the majority of my garden got through it unscathed, so it's not all that bad. That's what I told myself when I looked at my beautiful little stand of corn, absolutely horizontal last evening. A bee buzzed around, trying to figure out how he was going to get at these tassels. The bees love the corn pollen. Flat corn wasn't exactly a new experience for me. Last year, my corn got droopy from a hard rain, although not completely flattened to the ground as it was this time. Those stalks from last year managed to perk back up when the sunshine came back. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case this time. The sun came out today, things started to dry out, but that corn stayed flat.

Flat corn, will it bounce back?

Once I had free time, I went out to see what I could do to help the corn. It kind of had a domino effect, each row flopped over on the one next to it. I gingerly picked up a stalk, it made a terrible ripping crunchy sound and rain water spilled out of all it's crevasses all over my arm. I tried several methods to hold the corn up, but these stalks were heavy. The only option was to stake each stalk individually. One by one, I placed a stake by each stalk and tied it up. Sometimes I used one stake for two stalks if they were smaller ones. Henry and Clarence stopped by to say hi and give me a nuzzle. They know how to cheer me up. After a while, I went inside and got my iPod shuffle so I wouldn't have to listen to the crunchy sound of standing the stalks back up. The music lifted my spirits and I whistled while I finished my staking. The corn is finally back to a vertical state, although looking a bit rag tag now. I don't know if it will be okay and continue to grow. I'm sure if I were a farmer, I'd have to just let it go. But for my little patch of garden, I don't mind at least making an effort to save the corn.

Resurrected corn stalks.

One good thing about all that rain, the artichokes seem to love it. They're happy to get a good deep watering. I have six artichoke plants that I started from seed in my basement in February. Artichokes are a perennial and usually flower in their second year. I attempted to trick the plant into thinking it had gone through a winter in California, by exposing it to cold, but not freezing weather outdoors in early spring. Today, I discovered that one of my artichoke plants has three flower buds on it. Another has one bud. The flower bud, is the part we eat. If you leave it alone and let it mature, it will open to a big magenta flower, though I doubt we'll ever see one in my garden. We love artichokes.

Can you spot the third and smallest bud on the lower right?

An artichoke plant that has not flowered yet. Will it flower this year?

I picked some other veggies for tonight's dinner, as the artichokes still have some growing to do. Harvesting always makes me happy. So do these cute little guys. Whenever I'm in the garden, they come in and see what I'm doing. Clarence likes to stick his head into whatever garden bed I'm working on and see things up close. Sometimes, friskiness ensues when his brother shows up too. I have a strict no wrestling policy in the garden beds, but a little lax about it in the aisles.

Henry and Clarence always take time for a bit of wrestling, despite my no wrestling policy in the garden.


Marcia said...

I was rooting for the corn! Whew! And I love those 'chokes! H & C add a nice touch to the garden I think.

Jen said...

I thank you on behalf of the corn patch. They want me to tell you that it's not over and they're still lookin' pretty good today.

Anonymous said...

I love seeing the artichokes. My mouth is watering thinking about tasting them! I think that the corn appreciates the special attention.