Cucumbers, corn, and pine needles

Check out the cucumber. Is that a beauty or what? I grow lots of varieties but this particular variety, Sweet Success, is consistently the best performer. Even at that size, it is almost seedless and deliciously crisp.
I mentioned that the freak storm we had last week flattened the corn crop. I was all but certain it was history since I have never seen corn growing horizontally. But for some reason I hesitated just yanking it. Believe it or not, four days later it had almost fully restored itself back to vertical; No kidding, after six days it looks like nothing ever happened. I’ve always known that plants track the sunlight but never expected the four foot stalks to be capable of overcoming gravity in such a fashion. It’s not that the tips turned vertical, the entire plants returned to vertical. Amazing. Ears are starting to form, two per stalk, so I remain optimistic that perhaps, for the first time, we’ll get a decent crop.

The other interesting fall out from the storm is a way to ward off the armadillos. For a few weeks prior to the storm, the garden was raided on a nightly basis by a herd of armadillos who focused their attention on the sweet potato patch. Every morning I’d go out and replant what they had rooted up and shake my fist in the direction of the jungle where I know they were watching. The day after the storm I was cleaning up and came across a large branch down from a pine tree loaded with green pine needles. Pine needles are loaded with oil and I wondered if maybe laying these on the ground around the sweets would deter the armored raiders. It seems to have worked – no armadillos since the pine needle protection. Not sure if it’s the texture of the needles or the smell but for now, a fix. They’ll probably lose the green and texture in a couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see if they keep the effectiveness.

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