Done it. I’ve finally planted out the sweetcorn. This year, as part of the great polyculture experiment, I wanted to try the ‘three sisters’ – a traditional Native American method, where you plant corn, squash and beans all together. I think the idea is that the corn provides support for the beans, the beans fix nitrogen – and the squash provides ground cover, shading out the weeds. However, I’ve read that, in our chillier climate, the beans tend to overpower the corn somewhat – so I just went for two ‘sisters’ this time, plonking the sweetcorn in with the squash and pumpkins.
I’m happy to try anything that means less weeding – and I have high hopes that the squash will do a good job of keeping the weeds at bay. Last year, I got some ‘red kuri’ squash seeds from Seed to Plate, and duly planted them out at the recommended 4-foot spacing, as it said on the packet. That can’t be right, I thought – there’s heaps of room. Well, those plants grew like triffids; by the early Autumn, they had over-flowed their allotted bed, and were happily gamboling up the fence in a bid for freedom. We had about 14 delicious, nutty-tasting squash from, I think, 4 or 5 plants. The huge, jungly leaves filled up half the veg bed. So, it’s a bit of race against time this year – will my spindly looking little sweetcorn be able to keep ahead of the squash? We’ll see.