|approx. 6/28 - corn is just starting to tassel|
|Notice the hills of beans in between each hill of corn in the "row of corn"|
This area of the garden was planted with the mixture of corn, beans, squash and watermelons right about the time most of the heavy rains we received this spring really started coming (rainfall totals were close to 30" in 30 days), but it seemed like the garden just sucked up every bit of rain and didn't really got waterlogged. I don't know if it was a combination of the mountain of compost I spread years ago, the biochar, the residue from the cover crop mix, the earthworm activity, or a combination of all of the above, but it was pretty interesting the way the water just kept soaking into the ground. Of course, I also could have just been seeing what I wanted to see, and the rain would have soaked in regardless of what I'd done in the garden.
I was looking forward to eating some watermelons out of this garden this year, but the pinto beans overwhelmed the watermelons and squash faster than I thought they would, and this was a home-grown watermelon-less summer for me and mine. The next time I try something like this, I'll plant the watermelons in their own row, with anything else planted at least 3-4 feet away so that I hopefully won't have to suffer through another watermelon-less summer.
|It's not really impressive corn, but there was some corn at the end of summer|
I was a little surprised at how the corn grew when it was planted in hills like this. My original thinking when I planted these alternating hills of corn and beans was that it would be more of a thicker cover crop type of planting with not very many ears of corn. I also wasn't too sure about what sort of pollination I'd get, if any, with the the rows of corn spaced on six foot centers. But after the corn dried down I found a decent amount of harvestable ears of corn in almost every hill I'd planted.
The corn was an open-pollinated corn variety (87 day Minnesota 13) that I first planted about 6-7 years ago and I've been saving seed from that first planting since then, so I made sure to save all the nice big ears of corn I could find. Growing OP corn and saving seed is interesting (at least to me) and I had grand plans for it on the farm back when I first started trying to grow it, so I might share a little about what I think about OP corn in the future.
It's hard to define if this "experiment" was a success or failure (whatever that might mean to you or me), but I did come up with a few ideas about what I might try in the future both on the farm and in the garden.
Or, I might just mix some corn and beans together in each planter box and plant them as a mixture to duplicate the row of alternating hills of corn and beans.
It's interesting how ideas and plans can come from a handful of seeds, somewhere to plant them, a few photos, and a little head-scratching trying to figure out what you're seeing. As always, so many ideas, but so little time and energy.