Sunday, October 7, 2012

Apples And Corn . . . And Frost Possibility

Still no killing frost here.  Temp was forecast to go down to 22 degrees last night, but it was only 31.9 when we went to bed so we knew it wasn't going to dip as low as predicted.  When we got up this morning . . . ha!  We had 36 degrees.  An early morning tritz out to the garden did reveal patches of frost here and there on the grass, but it wasn't enough to zap my zinnias which are usually susceptible to a frost.  Gosh, here it is October 7th and we still haven't had a killing frost.  This is strange for us up here near the tundra!



We sorted through all the apples we harvested a couple of days ago.  This year's crop is not much to write home about. 
I'll have enough to make a couple of batches of applesauce, and we have two varieties that are good eating apples.  I'll earmark some of the more tart ones for apple pies and that will about take care of them.  I think last year we harvested twice as many as we did this year.  But we had an exceptionally good year last year so I think perhaps the trees just needed a rest this season.

While eating breakfast this morning, we noticed the &$#!!^ Blue Jays had discovered our corn still in the garden, so we decided we'd better get out there and harvest it while there was still some left!




My little patch of corn this year was an experiment.  Like tomatoes, we have trouble growing corn up here.  But hubby had heard of a variety, Painted Mountain, that was developed in the mountains of Montana for its hardiness and earliness (85 days).  The multi-color ears can be used for roasting, animal feed or decorating.  It is also tauted as being easily ground into a high-nutrition flour.



 It's non-GMO, heirloom and open-pollinated so you can propagate it from year to year.  The high protein content (13% or higher) is a definite plus.  The corn is described as a corn that grows where no other corn can grow so we decided to give it a try.

I planted our little block of Painted Mountain corn on June 10th so theoretically it should have been ready for harvest on or about September 4th, but on that date our stalks had not dried out at all, they were still green and the corn hadn't matured so we let it go.


The stalks are now definitely dried and with the Blue Jays helping themselves to it, we were more or less forced to harvest it this morning.



I purchased my seeds from Johnny's Selected Seeds and the packet said the ears grow to 6-7" long.  Ours all measure somewhere between 8-12" in length.  Not exceptionally thick, but long!  Above is a random sampling of our harvest.  The colors are amazing.

Husking each ear was like opening a present.  You never knew what a kaleidoscope of colors you were going to come upon!


The only disappointment was that in the hustle-bustle of this summer's busy-ness, we missed the prime time to harvest a few ears for roasting.  I'm going to put in a much bigger patch of this corn next year so we'll be sure to pick some ears to taste test then.


Well, I just checked a couple of different sites as to how cold we can expect it to get tonight.  The forecasts vary from 32 degrees to 42 degrees.  Quite a difference if you're a vulnerable plant outside that could survive 42 degrees but would be struck deader than a door knob at 32.  It's that time of year when we tend to keep a close eye on the thermometer, but we never know what will really happen . . . until it happens!

36 comments:

  1. Oh, my, that corn is simply beautiful! We have had several killing frosts here and we decided to wave the white flag and surrender. No more wrapping things up at night - too much stress. Just the plants in the hoop houses still growing.

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    1. 2 Tramps - For some reason, it's UNCOVERING everything each morning that gets through to me! I don't blame you for calling it quits for the year. Yay for your hoop house though.

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  2. We have had two killing frosts also. Everything is done outside. Great Corn! I lived in Northern Minnesota for several years and never could find a corn that would get ripe in time.

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    1. Myrna - Two killing frosts in Iowa and we haven't had any? Seems strange, no? I can't tell you how many years I've tried (and failed!) to grow sweet corn here. This new stuff may be just the ticket for us . . . if you can actually eat it like sweet corn! We'll see.

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  3. The apples and corn are both gorgeous! Stay warm tonight!

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    1. Erin - We didn't even make a fire in the wood stove last night. It was a little chilly in here first thing this morn (did NOT want to get out of bed) but it only got down to the mid-30s last night. No hard frost yet.

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  4. Love the colors of the corn, how does it taste? Will have to think about that for next year.

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    1. Tombstone Livestock - Sadly, we missed taste testing it when it was at that stage, and now we'll have to wait until it dries thoroughly before trying to grind it for flour. But, heck, I'd grow it just to use as decorative Indian Corn!

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  5. 'Love,love,love Painted Mountain Corn! Four years ago, we did a 3 Sisters garden that included Painted Mountain planted in hills. What a yield! And so beautiful, each kernel looks like a jewel. We are still grinding flour from that planting and it is still so sweet and fresh. Glad you had great results too! It's a keeper!-"M"

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    1. "M" - Hey, glad to hear you had good luck with it, too! We got at least two ears from each stalk, sometimes three. Good yield indeed. So glad to hear it makes good flour. Have you planted it since four years ago?

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  6. Beautiful corn! You will have to let us know when you make something out of it. Seems odd to have such cold weather already, but then you get lots of snow in your area, and we get none here. We are still going barefooted at night here, but enjoying the great sleeping weather! Stay warm. Maybe it's time for some sweet rolls, or some hot chocolate or tea by the fire?
    ~~Lori

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    1. Lori - Well, I know I'm ready for some time by the fire! My reading stack is (literally) growing each day. Now go find some shoes to put on before you catch cold!

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  7. I know that everyone else already said it, but those are BEAUTIFUL ears of corn!!

    We haven't had a killing frost yet, but I did have the wood stove on the night before last. Seems wrong for down here. Oh well, the cats loved it.

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    1. CR - I am no expert, but it sure seems like winter is trying to come early to many parts of the country. Get ready!

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    1. Stephanie - Thanks! We're sure hoping it proves out!

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  9. Mama Pea .... That corn is beautiful!

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  10. What a wonderful apple harvest..love the beautiful corn!

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    1. Simply Scaife Family - I'll be very happy to get some good applesauce from the apples. We both like applesauce and frequently use it as a little dessert. And, of course, we'll eat the tastier ones fresh. An apple a day . . . and all that!

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  11. The corn is gorgeous!!! I've had to cover a spot of my garden the last two nights, my hands are frozen when I uncover them in the mornings :p I wonder what this winter has in store for us ☺

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    1. Kelly - Well, I certainly may be wrong but I think we're all in for an EARLY winter this year!

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  12. Hi MP, I couldn't open up "Reply" to answer your question! So here is your answer: We haven't planted Painted Mountain again since 4 years ago. Our last harvest was so abundant that we are still eating that corn. Like you experienced, our corn surprisingly yielded 2 to 3 nice sized ears per stalk. And we planted alot of hills thinking we'd get one ear--if we were lucky. It's good to know that PM corn can be stored for years if you overplant! I think we will plant PM again within the next 2 years. I will try to germinate the well stored, old seed plus buy new seed for added insurance.
    If there is anything that I would do differently, it would be to sort a few of the ears by color before shelling for flour/meal. Otherwise, PM cornmeal comes out as a grey-blue color and I suppose to some folks, that doesn't appeal as appetizing. (It doesn't bother us at all because the taste is wonderful.) It would be interesting as an experiment to grind just red corn together, or to grind only yellow, or only blue etc. Maybe grinding custom colors together like red and yellow might produce a more golden meal. Or perhaps changing the grind size to get a bigger contrasting color fleck to add to a different colored background flour (for example,red flecks would be pretty in a yellow meal). I don't know if any of these customizing ideas will turn out. But it sure would be fun to try!-"M"

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    1. "M" - I had wondered what color the flour would turn out to be! (I was thinking of gray bread or biscuits!!) Your ideas regarding experimentation are very, very interesting.

      Now I have this picture of both of us on a snowy, winter evening sitting by lamp light hand-sorting the colored kernels!!

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  13. Ooooh, I love that corn! I think I might try it myself next year. I'd love something that would make a good corn meal. You will have to let us know how it turns out ground!

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    1. Susan - Be sure to read the response from "M" who has actually made flour from the corn. So interesting! I think we should ALL plant this next year and compare our findings!

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  14. The corn is lovely! And so perfect looking. Not like ours, LOL. Love your apples too. We need so spray all our fruit trees with dormant oil this winter and something for diseases. That's what took it's toll. Still, this year I got my first homegrown apple pie!

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    1. Leigh - Just located this comment of yours in the Spam folder . . . along with another one of yours. So sorry. Is my computer discriminating against you?? ;o}

      The ears of corn shown look good but we did have some that were small and not well formed. Although the summer weather was just plain weird, we didn't do as much in regard to taking care of our fruit trees as we usually do so we need to get on that for next year.

      I say a big HOORAY for your first home grown apple pie!

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  15. nice corn,did you say Johnny Appleseed?haha.We took a trip to the va today,I think they tried to fit in everyone today that they would have scheduled for Monday.But since they were closed for Columbus day,they were extra busy.All good news until we get to the scheduled time to see the other Drs.Then he will need transfusions again.On a very sad note,our neighbor passed away,It is like I almost feel guilty.I didn't bring it up to many people and his wife just kept saying her husband was very stubborn and would not see anyone but his own Dr,but since she got layed off work and lost their ins....He was a small portion disabled but didn't work.I might have mentioned that while you and papa pea were doing your house ,he did the whole outside of theirs.He seemed to be getting weaker and losing a lot of wt.A ton of wt,but I would just ask how he was doing ect,but 2 weeks ago they brought him in,leukemia with pneumonia and his blood count was only 2.6.They tried to help him but I think it was to late from the beginning,I still feel funny about the whole thing because now ,his wife said they are not having a funeral.Somehow it just seems so wrong.I have seen cancer take people fast but this was too fast.

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    1. judy - I'm sure your neighbor who just lost her husband felt your support through your occasional chats. You have so much on your plate that just being friendly to her was probably more than enough. Some people don't want a funeral after they pass, and it's up to those of us left to respect their wishes. You're such a sweet person to be so concerned.

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  16. Have to agree with everyone else .... beautiful corn!!! It almost looks like the colors of a quilt. Hmmm, that's a good idea. Apples look darn good too! Nothing better than an apple pie with a glop of vanilla ice cream on top.

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    1. Karen L. - I was all set to make an apple pie a day or so ago, but then made a pan of apple slices instead. I think I like them almost better than a pie 'cause you can just take a little slice several times during the day when you walk by . . . and you don't feel like you're eating a whole piece of pie. :o)

      Signed,
      Queen of DeNile

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  17. Fantabulous corn! How cool is that that it grew so well for you? And doubly cool that it's open pollinated so you can save the seed.

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    1. LindaCO - Yes! I may create quite a problem for myself though selecting kernels (for seed) from just the very most attractive and colorful ears!!

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  18. Love your corn, such pretty colors. I can't wait to see how it does next year for you.

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    1. Sparkless - Boy, I sure hope it proves out again next year 'cause I'm planning a BIG planting of it!

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