Thom Bri

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since Sep 19, 2023
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Long-time gardener, mainly interested in corn and Native American farming techniques. Grew up on a Midwestern farm. Lived in rural Central America and worked in agriculture there.
Current job, RN.
Past jobs, English teacher, forklift driver, lawn maintenance guy, real estate agent, health insurance claims, etc.
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Recent posts by Thom Bri

When I started growing corn, in 1998 or so, I just went to the local garden store and bought a pound of 'Indian corn' out of their bulk bin. Turned out to be a colorful flint. Been growing and selecting and mixing it with other corns since then. I grind it for my daily bread, and hang it for decorations.

My 3 sisters garden:

1 day ago
Looking at that last pic, it appears you have plenty of turf. It's a fair bit of work, but cutting turf squares and placing them upside down in the beds would end up with pretty fair soil.
Potatoes, planted mid-April.
Corn sprouting, 10 days after planting. Lots of rain, reasonably warm.

Interested to see if planting beans and peas earlier than the corn makes a noticeable difference. May have to weed  out some if they seem too thick. Squash and cantaloupe not sprouted yet.

I use a simple cardboard box lined with aluminum foil with a foil reflector. Very simple. It easily gets right up to, but not quite boiling. I think with a few simple modifications it would easily boil water. We use it for any job that requires hot water. Sun tea, coffee, make yogurt in it, raise bread dough.

My wife generally preheats pans or pots of water before cooking on the stove. Greatly reduces time. We use it every non-rainy day spring summer and fall.
3 weeks ago

William Bronson wrote:Welp, I went ahead and planted them two feet on center,leaving room between them for corn and squash.
I figure anything worth doing is worth doing wrong enough times to get it right.

A fine sentiment!
Did you plant the corn in hills, or on the flat? How many seeds in a group?
Planted beans, squash, zucchini, cantaloupe today. Perfect weather, sprinkling as I planted, then a short heavy rain that started seconds after I finished..

Two types of cantaloupes. One was seed my daughter sent me a few years ago, really giant cantaloupes, like 15 pounds! Last year I misplaced that bag of saved seeds so didn't get replanted. Found them this spring, hope they sprout. The others are seeds I have been planting back maybe 10 years, melons shaped like footballs. Roughly 68 cantaloupe hills, between the corn hills.

Roughly 100 squash seeds. This is way too many for home use, but my goal is to have the ground surface completely covered by a tangle of beans and squash and cantaloupes, as early in the season as possible. Last year had some squash bugs, mostly well-controlled by hand picking. Will see how that goes this year.

I want the ground to look like this, from last year's garden:

Climbing beans up a corn plant, 2023.

William Bronson wrote: This year I added two community garden plot to the the other gardens I'm "tending".
It's an opportunity to boost this new garden and socialize, especially with my sister, with whom I'm sharing the plots.

Because it is remote and we are busy people, we were aiming for a 3 sister's garden.
We think of the three as long season plants left to produce storage crops.
Unfortunately I winter sowed squash and and it's now ready to go in.
I also started some runner beans in an indoor setup provided by the community garden program 😀.
They are also ready to be planted.
If I had started corn at the same time,  maybe it would have been fine,  but as is I don't see how the three can thrive together.

My general practice is corn first, then beans when the corn has sprouted, then squash any time later. This seems to have been how it was done in ancient times as well, from what little evidence exists. The reasoning is that corn is the primary crop, and competition will reduce the corn yield, so plant first to allow strong establishment.

However, if maximum corn yield is not the goal, then it probably doesn't matter which gets planted first. Squash in particular can grow up onto and smother corn. I control the squash by walking the garden and moving the growing vine ends away from the corn plants. By mid-season it no longer matters.
Yesterday April 30 planted 204 hills of open-pollinated flint corn. The majority was from selected purple ears from last year. The remainder is from other ears that had things I liked, larger ears, or glass gem. Some of the beans, peas and soybeans are sprouting in the same hills.

It took about 5 hours of labor to clear the weeds with a hoe and then plant the corn. Planting was slow, because I was putting 7 seeds per hill on average, and each seed separated from the others.

Next will plant squash and more beans.

Usually wait a bit later to plant, but this year is early and warm. Hopefully we won't get a late frost.