Thursday, 22 May 2014

Creating my corn bed!

My weed bouquet

Our grass badly needed cut - I've been so busy nurturing seedlings in the greenhouse that the small grassy area of the garden (the rest is currently slabs and a half made raised bed) has been severely neglected.  I went round pinching off all the weed heads (dandelions which had mostly flowered or gone to seed eek), and then pulled up some of the long grass to dry out and use later as mulch.  At least the weeds went to some use and gave me a little weed bouquet pictured above.

Then I instructed hubby to use the scary lawnmower and get rid of the jungle dwelling there.  Well though the lot was very green the lower areas had obviously started to die off a bit, and left the ground looking rather...well, barren.

I decided that the grass has just been a nuisance, and if I want it I can purposely plant it later, where I actually want it!  So I got about digging it up and digging it over...

A few hours later I had a lovely bed of soft, crumbly soil. It's roughly 4 foot by about 5.5 foot.  I chose to grow my corn here up against the shed because it is the only part of the garden where it can get plenty of sun but not block out sun for any other crops.  (The sun hits the shed and the corn won't block out any more light than the shed already does).

My corn varieties have been sitting out for a few days getting accustomed to the harsh Edinburgh winds and I like them to dry out a little as it makes it easier to get them out of the pots and separate them.

They were soon sorted into their varieties (Starting from top left to right then bottom): Popcorn Fiesta, Spring Treat Sweetcorn, Strawberry Popcorn and Minipop.

I then planted them into block of rows to help with germination later in the year.  Many people say not to mix varieties because they can cross pollinate but to be honest, I just want some corn, I don't really care if they mix.  Though hopefully I'll get some gorgeous Strawberry Popcorn cobs, they look so appetising!

My very technical sketch to plan my planting...

As you can see from this angle, the "grass" area is really awful, so I'll just HAVE to dig up the rest of it to make more beds...What a shame!

You can also see the raised bed here - I've still got a whole plank depth's worth of filling up to do, but I've have some stuff essentially composting in there (air can still get in at the sides of the cover) so I will see what happens with that.

Please ignore the weeds, I'm still developing a lot of the garden this year, having never had time last year.  So I've let the weeds grow because I know that I'll be overhauling the entire area within a few weeks anyway.  

These are all the stones I found when digging this bed area.  Yes all of these were UNDERNEATH the grass, apart from the longer one, which was edging part of it.  I'm quite surprised by how clean they look!  Foot is added in for size reference - bear in mind my feet are a UK 8 which is quite big!

It may not be the neatest, being a little flimsy, but hey I spent £6 in total buying this bamboo edging in Poundland (6 packs of 1 metre in order to get enough length).  There were some bits where the wiring wouldn't allow it to sit flat, hence the odd overlap area.

After a good watering and mulch with the dry grass, the bed is finished for now!  I'm planning to fertilize them soon with a liquid fertilizer.  I like to let them settle in a bit before feeding them.  Does anyone know if Tomorite is okay for corn or should I use something more general purpose?

Also, I'm trying to decide what to put in the corner area between the raised bed, steps and corn bed.  It's quite triangular, though I had planned to pull up the other steps too so could be larger.  Was thinking either a companion flower for pest reduction (The raised bed will be mainly squashes) or possibly parsnips?  Any recommendations?  I don't want something that will shadow over the squashes too much.


  1. Good work! Get rid of all that useless grass, I say. Raised beds are much better. I have tried Sweet Corn a couple of times, but I think my garden doesn't get enough sun for it to do well. You have certainly done it "by the book", in that whichever way the wind blows, your corn ought to get well pollinated. I had the same experience as you when I removed the "lawn" from my plot - a thin layer of soil concealing a mess of builders' rubble. Bricks, metal, plastic, wood, nails, you name it, it was there.

    1. Yes I quite agree about the useless grass!! Grass is for garden admirers not gardeners in my opinion! It's been annoying me that up against the shed get a large majority of the sun and yet I couldn't plant anything there because hubby the un-gardener wanted to keep the grass for the kids we don't yet have. So I just basically went ahead and made it how I wanted it and his reaction was basically, "Oh cool, it looks good, maybe you could put ANOTHER one in the other corner and make a little path in between." Lol.

      I was surprised by how much crap there was hiding under the grass, considering some of it had pretty big roots. My neighbour said they apparently used to have the shed where the raised bed now is, which is why there seems to be supporting type stones and slabs all over the place.

  2. On the subject of pollination, I usually waft the stems of our sweetcorn to help distribute the pollen.

    1. Thanks Sue! I will try to remember to waft when the time comes

  3. Nice work! Looks good. Nothing is better than growing your own food.

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