Right before I went to sleep last night, I was thinking about how the raccoons had ravaged my sweet corn. And then I suddenly realized I had made a tactical error in what appears to be a new battle against a new foe.
I realized that I had left the remaining sweet corn out in the garden, so when the raccoons returned, and I knew they would, they would find more to eat.
When I checked the garden earlier this evening, I was right. The raccoons had returned and I could see evidence that they had eaten more sweet corn.
So I picked all the remaining shattered ears off the stalks and off the ground and added them to the compost tumbler. This will serve two purposes.
First, when the raccoons return tonight, and I know they will, they won’t find any more sweet corn to eat. Hopefully, that’s all the encouragement they will need to move on to someplace else, anyplace else. Second, I can see how long it takes for corn cobs to break down in the compost tumbler.
I read somewhere that the Native Americans used to set up “viewing stands” around their fields and gardens of corn, beans and squash and then stand guard over them all day and all night.
This ensured they wouldn’t lose a crop to raccoons, rabbits, deer, and anyone or anything else that tried to get it.
They were also extremely protective of their seed corn. The seed corn was their future, they needed it for survival. They knew that no matter how hungry they got in the winter, if they ate their seed corn, they would surely starve by the next fall as there would be no more crops.
I’m not much of a seed saver, relying instead on the many companies that send me their seed catalogs every winter to provide me with all the seed I need each spring.
But I do believe gardeners shouldn’t eat their seed corn, whatever that is for them.
How do we avoid eating our ‘seed corn’ and actually increase our seed corn?
- By reading about gardening and getting good new ideas, and trying them out in our gardens.
- By taking care of ourselves so we have the strength and stamina to plant a new crop each spring and tend our gardens all year.
- By sharing passalong plants with others so that if a plant dies in our own garden, we have someone who can give us a fresh start of it from their garden.
- By sharing our knowledge of gardening with others, so they can learn to garden, too, and learn new things that they can in turn share with us.
- By practicing sustainable gardening methods, so we improve the garden each year and leave it whole for whoever gardens there after us.
No matter how desperate you get as a gardener, please don’t eat your ‘seed corn’.