Posts tagged ‘corn’
In order to maximize energy and space in the garden, many gardeners choose to co-plant multiple crops together in the same field. In the Beach flats garden, corn beans and squash are planted together in various formations according to each gardener’s experience and traditions. Corn beans and squash co-planting is known as a three sister garden and is common in many indigenous planting traditions. There are two ways in which corn and beans are commonly co-planted in the Beach Flats Garden. The more common method involves planting the corn 1 to 2 months ahead of the beans, so the corn has time to grow. This method produces a larger yield from the corn in exchange for a smaller quantity of beans. The other method involves planting them at the same time and allowing the beans to climb over the corn as it grows. The bean yield is greater while the corn is reduced. As the beans grow they feed the soil to the benefit of the corn beans and squash in the parcel. The third sister, squash, can be seen growing in the rows. The squash plants reduce evaporation and weed growth by making shade in the parcel. Vine squash can be trained to grow down the rows to maximize the effect. However a gardener chooses to plant, if the garden has corn beans and squash, its a happy garden.
In spanish each part of the corn plant has a special name. The term milpa refers to a corn plant as well as a field of corn. A milpita is a small plant, or a small field. A fresh ear of corn is known as an elote, while a dry one is called a masorca. The kernels are called granas, and the husks are called hojas. The stems and leaves, known as zacate, are chopped into fine pieces with a machete and composted. The ground flour made from corn called masa, can be used for tortillas, tamales, atole and more.
Corn is one of our staple crops in the beach flats garden. These towering giants produce abundant food fuel and fiber for gardeners around the world. The seeds are sown in early spring in the rainy season. The kernels sprout in the warm spring sunlight and begin their long journey to their productive phase. Taller and taller they grow in their quest for the sun’s golden rays. When the time is right they grow a male flower on top. In spanish the flower is known as a “spiga.” The spiga drops pollen onto the female corn silks allowing for even pollination of all the corn ears. In a few more weeks when the ears of corn mature and ripen they will be harvested and enjoyed. Until then, we can only count the days and make predictions when they will be ready for us.
Ladybugs are a good friend in any garden. They eat aphids and other bad insects, so always be nice to them and thank them for their hard work in pest control. Certain plants attract them including marigolds, oregano, corn, beans, squash and many more.
The Beach flats, garden is a garden of sustenance, and our staple crops are corn, beans, and squash. There are as many ways to plant these crops as there are gardeners, but many jardineros de la playa choose to intercrop their corn and beans. This is an ancient practice that involves planting the corn and beans together, staggered in both time and space so that each plant gets what it needs from the other (with the help of their loving gardener). The beans are a prolific vine that will climb anything they can get their tendrils on; while the corn is a towering giant that needs humans to survive. The beans climb up the corn in their quest for the sun, providing vital nutrients to the soil that benefits both plants. In some cases, gardeners plant squash at the base to provide shade which minimizes weed growth, and evaporation. Corn beans and squash are known as the three sisters; between the three sisters there exists a symbiotic relationship that requires the guidance of loving caretaker. To intercrop your corn and beans you must plant the corn 1 to 2 months ahead of the beans. This gives the corn a head start that it needs to avoid strangulation by the overzealous beans. When your corn is knee high, plant the beans between the corn, in the same row. Some of the gardeners just use the corn for support; planting the corn and beans at the same time will give you a good harvest of beans, but not corn. This is a good way to provide support for your beans without building a structure.