Allotment harvests, and waiting for harvests

While we could spend all day, every day, picking French beans and still find when we got to the end that some beans had magically matured at the other end of the row, there are other crops that don’t quite want to get there.

I know that we have a while to wait for our borlotti beans. In fact, I’m wondering whether it was a good idea to grow them in the UK at all, given that they apparently have to be dried on the plant and given that our September, last year, was notable for its peculiar blend of rain and fog, meaning that sometimes you got wet vertically and sometimes you got wet horizontally, but either way, you got wet – that doesn’t bode well for beans drying on the plant at all. They are shy beasts too, given how colourful they are, it took me ages to find any to photograph.

The other crop that is keeping us hanging on is the sweetcorn. Whenever I think about it, my mouth waters, but each time I peel back some of the covering leaves and pierce a kernel with my nail, it still runs clear, not milky, which is the sign that the cob is ripe. It’s Lark Early which should be ripe by now, I’m sure, but it simply isn’t and I’m not sure if:

1. I’m impatient
2. We’ve done something wrong
3. Our corn is jinxed.

Okay, I know that last one isn’t true, but never having grown corn before, and having had only a 50% germination rate, I can’t help expecting the worst all the time. Is everybody else’s corn ripe, or am I jumping the gun, sweetcorn-wise?

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Posted by The Allotment Blogger on Thursday, August 6, 2009


OpenID said...

I can't comment on whether my corn is ripe because I had a 0% germination rate so none at all on my plot...however a few allotment holders had more joy than me with growing corn this season and thir's is not yet ready to be harvested...hope this helps and makes you feel as if you're not the only one!!

August 6, 2009 at 12:28 PM  
Blogger tpals said...

Can you post a picture of an ear that you've pulled back to test? I've always judged by appearance.

August 6, 2009 at 1:20 PM  
Blogger Z said...

I didn't grow any this year, but a friend says that hares have eaten most of his - so I think you are doing okay.

If you've got a good crop, remember you'll have a glut in a week or two and may not be able to eat it all, and it's better a little underripe but beautifully sweet than overripe and mealy. I sometimes munch a raw cob when it's underripe, it's delicious.

August 9, 2009 at 10:21 AM  
Blogger Mark Hubbard said...

We've got Spring around the corner, but I think I might have to let the sweet corn go. Last years crop was a disaster, but worse, my garden is not big enough - on that cliff of mine - and no matter where I plant them, their height takes too much sun off my other vegetables.

Z - all is not lost with that crop of yours: eat the hares ;)

August 9, 2009 at 3:45 PM  
Blogger The Allotment Blogger said...

Tanya, we've finally got to eat our corn and it's delicious. Apparently the seeds are very temperature sensitive when it comes to germination though, so too wet or too cold and they rot.

tpals, I'll do that next week. I was so excited to eat them I forgot to photograph them!

z - I shall blanch and freeze a lot of the cobs, to eat in November and December!

Mark - I hear you. This is the first year we've grown corn because we've never had room before either!

August 14, 2009 at 9:25 AM  

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