With so much going wrong in the gardens this crazy spring and summer, the sweet corn gave us no trouble at all. I’d always believed that unless corn seed was treated with fungicide it would germinate poorly if planted in the spring. But this year we decided to make the switch to untreated organic seed. It was one of the few things we planted on time this year. And even though it was an exceptionally rainy and cold spring (which creates a high risk that untreated seed will rot and not germinate), we had a germination rate of well over 90%. Unlike last year, we lost none of our planting to crows. Many of the young stalks were knocked down by a spring storm, but they righted themselves the next day. The entire stand grew tall and proud.
As I saw crop after crop fail, I could look at the corn with relief, knowing we’d have plenty of it soon for our members and ourselves.
Then the wildlife attacked.
Last week, just days before the corn was ready for harvesting, we noticed that raccoons (presumably) had been tearing down stalks and eating the maturing ears.
So we put up an electrified fence and I set a live trap in the field.
But the damage only got worse. Every night more and more was being destroyed. All I caught in the trap was a possum, who was innocent of this offense.
We applied liquid fence and I set a steel foot trap. Neither worked. By yesterday half the corn had been destroyed.
A friend suggested the culprit might be a groundhog, rather than a raccoon. Knowing a groundhog lives in the area of the garden and never having had any success getting him to go into the trap, I staked out the area. Eventually he appeared. Rather than being patient to let him get closer, I took a shot that I thought was easy enough, with the usual result (I missed). Yesterday I tried again. This time I chose to wait until the groundhog came closer, so I’d have an easier shot. He never did.
So far this season we’ve managed to harvest 2 ears out of over 1400 row feet of corn.
It’s just been one of those years.