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Gardening: 2002-2009 Seasons


Hopleaf
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Years ago my dad and I had to make an excursion from the country place. On the way back, we saw an old man with his pick-up truck parked by the side of the road. He was selling fresh corn. We stopped and bought some. When we got back to the farm house with it, my mother made fun of us for being stupid enough to get tricked into buying field corn. But we were undaunted and boiled it anyway. It was fabulous. Like I said... A whole different thing.

The corn I had in Mexico years later was similar.

I have to go now and find a farmer.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Just guessing about Mexican corn, but I thing you need to find some field corn--the corn grown for animal feed. We used to call them roasting ears, when I was a young-un visiting grandma. The uncles would go across the road, pick a basketful of young ears, and grandma would boil them up.

I don't know if city folks can buy corn like that.

sparrowgrass
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You are right. I have had "field corn" before and it was very like the corn I got in Mexico.

This city folk can't find any. I am going to have to go for a drive in the country.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I am not sure what cattle corn is. I think that what we would call field corn is the stuff that is grown to be processed into corn meal, animal feed, corn starch, corn syrup, etc. so maybe that is what you mean by cattle corn. I have seen it called "dent" corn because the kernel has a little dent on top. I think Alton Brown had a show on corn and he made the distinction between sweet corn and dent corn. You have to pick it fresh, before the kernels get dry and hard.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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As I understand it, and the whole topic can be a little confused, the corn in Mexico is flour corn (not dent, not flint, not popcorn, not sweet corn). Dent is the major field corn for general use (animal feed, industrial purposes) in the US.

Mexicans, like Americans in the old days, used any kind of young corn for its sweetness. Thank the canning industry for the fact that Americans began breeding for sweetness that could be enjoyed from a can year round and fresh in summer.

Corn grown on small plots in Mexico is still the whole changing slew of varieties of flour corn. I think this is what they usually use for eating off the cob. It's what people in small villages still use for making tortillas.

For factory made tortillas, including the tortilleras now on every street corner in Mexico, hybrid dent corn (often from the US thanks to NAFTA) is usually used. Not such a good tortilla.

And for my money the best way of preparing fresh corn in Mexico is grilled until almost blackened and plastered with ground chile and lime juice. One of my favorite lunches.

Rachel Caroline Laudan

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Thank you for the information caroline. I really think the flour corn is what I am looking for. Now, the problem is where to get it or some seeds.

OH.. that grilled corn. I had some collegues living in Mexico for a time. They had rented a house and the housekeeper came with the deal. She was also quite a cook. She had her own source for corn tortillas. She knew this family that grew their own corn and made and sold tortillas and she used them as her source of supply. I agree with you. Those tortillas were a whole new experience versus those that we picked up at the local supermarket. Most folks here can't understand what is so good about a tortilla hot off the comal with a spread of asiento. The real thing is a truly beautiful food. I won't even bring up her source for tamales, and homemade crema, and queso fresco, and the avocados from the tree in the yard, and...

See ya... I gotta call my travel agent.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Dent is the major field corn for general use (animal feed, industrial purposes) in the US. 

Mexicans, like Americans in the old days, used any kind of young corn for its sweetness.

I used to live in Nebraska. The farmer next door to us had a couple acres of field corn. He told us that we could have as much as we wanted, so 'round 'bout dinnertime, my mother would get the pot boiling and us kids would go pick several young ears which we'd race back to the house and then drop into the pot.

We loved this stuff. It was a constant summertime treat.

But our other neighbors "down the way," said that they weren't interested in any because it was just "that old field corn, and not much good."

You never could have convinced us of that.

:rolleyes:

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Drum rolls, please...

today I picked my first two tomatoes (Early Goliath). The first one I ate like an apple, out in the garden, slurping, and dripping all over my t-shirt. Life doesn't get much better than this. The second was clutched to my breast as I walked into the house. Paul asked what happened to my t-shirt, and I responded that "the early tomato picker gets the first one." The second was sliced and eaten straight, with dinner, along with sweet corn (big surprise!). Life just got better.

But, tomorrow, I will pick my first two Brandywines. I imagine that the first will have the same fate as the first Early Goliath I picked today. I will once again be as sticky and dirty as Peter (age 7).

It has been hot, and dry. I have been watering what needs to be watered (my tomatoes, new tree, wisteria). The heat and watering have been good to all three.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Huevos del Toro suggested that we do a course in eGCI on growing herbs in containers. We are looking for a volunteer/volunteers do do this course. Who is up for it?

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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Update on the corn question...

Caroline on the Mexico forum reminded me that they grow "flour corn" locally in Mexico for eating and for masa. The kernels have a high ratio of soft starch. I am now on the hunt for flour corn. I think that sparrowgrass is probably correct. What I have had here is field corn, probably dent corn.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Huevos del Toro suggested that we do a course in eGCI on growing herbs in containers. We are looking for a volunteer/volunteers do do this course. Who is up for it?

Jackal10 has put his hand up.

Gerhard Groenewald

www.mesamis.co.za

Wilderness

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For field/flour corn look at J.L. Hudson's seed catalog, Redwood City Seed Company, Plants of the Southwest, Seeds of Change, and by all means consider joining Seed Savers Exchange. Membership entitles you to a catalog of seed companies who still produce and sell heirloom seeds of all sorts, as well as a catalog of its seed savers who will sell or trade seeds. If memory serves, the offerings of corn, tomatoes, squash, chiles, and beans is absoluted palate-boggling!

Here in Dallas there are lots of street corn vendors popping up, and I salivate uncontrollably at just the sight and smell of them. Their roasted, dressed and slathered corn is good, but it is sweet corn, and it is such a pale, weak imitation of those fat, chewy ears with the spiky thumbnail sized kernels that you find in Mexico. I, myself, am a chile, limon, crema, and cotija sort of girl!

AAAAaargh! I'm drooling into my computer.

Theabroma

Sharon Peters aka "theabroma"

The lunatics have overtaken the asylum

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FINALLY! Someone that fully understands REAL corn!

Many thanks for the seed sources. I ran across a couple of them in my latest google search but I didn't have time to look at everything. This gives me a head start.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Sooo??? How was it?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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It was great. Much more corny flavor like the corn of my youth . I bought some more today, it must have been popular because they raised the price.

The corn was actually purple though. Why do they call purple vegetables red (red onions, red cabbage, red cauliflower)?

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  • 2 weeks later...

My Brandywines are doing well; I have an adequate, but not overwhelming supply. It is perfect. Given that it is late August, I am pinching blossons and trimming down-hanging branches on the plants to encourage what fruit is set to ripen.

My harcourts verts are just about done.

I have 5 perfect pumpkins (one for each member of the family) ripening nicely; I have begun to trim folage and pinch blossoms to encourage pumpkin growth.

I will have a bumper crop of brussels sprouts this year.

The basil plants are not plants anymore; they are shrubs. I will harvest when I return from the cabin. What do people do with excess basil besides make and freeze pesto?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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What do people do with excess basil besides make and freeze pesto?

Open a booth at the Farmer's Market. :smile:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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My Brandywines are doing well; I have an adequate, but not overwhelming supply.  It is perfect.  Given that it is late August, I am pinching blossons and trimming down-hanging branches on the plants to encourage what fruit is set to ripen. 

My harcourts verts are just about done.

I have 5 perfect pumpkins (one for each member of the family) ripening nicely; I have begun to trim folage and pinch blossoms to encourage  pumpkin growth.

I will have a bumper crop of brussels sprouts this year.

The basil plants are not plants anymore; they are shrubs.  I will harvest when I return from the cabin.  What do people do with excess basil besides make and freeze pesto?

could you explain what you mean by "pinching blossoms and trimming down hanging branches...", snowangel?

and does anyone have an idea how to combat vegetarian squirrels that have set their sites on my tomatoes? First the rabbits, now these varmints! I might just have to invest in a .22.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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...and does anyone have an idea how to combat vegetarian squirrels that have set their sites on my tomatoes? First the rabbits, now these varmints!  I might just have to invest in a .22.

Here's one suggestion. The user review on Amazon liked it (could have sworn there were more reviews...must have been on another site that sold it). And they recommend moving it so the varmints don't get used to its location.

I think Amazon's price is the best I've seen for it.

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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could you explain what you mean by "pinching blossoms and trimming down hanging branches...", snowangel?

At a certain point in the summer, let's face it, there just isn't time for those blossoms to bear fruit that is going to ripen before first frost. So, you don't want the plant putting energy into trying to turn those blossoms into fruit -- you want the energy to go into enlarging and ripening the fruit already set.

And, generally speaking with tomatoes, the branches that point down don't produce fruit. Trim them off to reduce energy going into those branches as well as getting more light and air to the fruit that is already set.

Tomatoes and peppers like hot weather. Not just days, but nights as well. And, let's face it, the sun simply doesn't have the push it had in July and early August. As the sun loses its punch, and night time temps decrease, these plants just don't do what they did, so I prune and pinch to increase the chances of what's there to get nice and ripe.

I'd bet my bottom dollar that here in the northern part of zone 4, we are less than one month away from our first frost :shock::sad:

For the squirrel problem -- I leave a couple of tomatoes in the garden, on the dirt, where they can easily get to them. It seems to help.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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and does anyone have an idea how to combat vegetarian squirrels that have set their sites on my tomatoes? First the rabbits, now these varmints!  I might just have to invest in a .22.

We have one of these:

1088.jpg

It works pretty well as long as you don't have a lot of squirrels. We've caught several and then let them go in a park miles from our house. Another solution is to plant enough tomatoes so there's enough for you AND for them.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Another solution is to plant enough tomatoes so there's enough for you AND for them.

that would be fine, except they seem to have an insatiable appetite that has them munching a few bites of one tomato, dropping it and grabbing another. I imagine their feedings end up in quite the frenzied pigout.

Right now, the additional chicken wire is working well. I plan on making a more permanent structure for my garden next year. something with a door and ceiling, maybe even running water.

But damn if these tomatoes arent' the best friggin' tomatoes I've ever eaten. I can see why the squirrels are so interested; they have to be better than what's available at their local grocer.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

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