Quest for Sweet Corn - Actions Taken

Is it just me, or do the coneflowers (Echinacea purpurea) seem to have a little deeper color this year? I wonder if it is due to the lack of rainfall?

Wait, I wasn't really out in the garden to take pictures of the coneflowers. I was heading back to take some more pictures of my sweet corn and the coneflowers caught my eye. Sometimes I think I have "GADS", garden attention distraction syndrome. I go outside with one gardening task in mind, see something else to do and say "Gads, I gotta get to that big tall weed" or something like that. Then I end up doing about five other tasks before I get to the task of the moment or even remember why I went out to the garden in the first place.


When I got up this morning, I decided that I needed to thin out the sweet corn to increase my chances of getting a few ears of corn from my "tiny by corn standards" patch of sweet corn.

I thought about going out early in the morning, but I was already dressed for work and I knew if I went out then, I'd get all dirty. When someone comes into work with baby spit up on the back of his or her shirt, everyone just smiles and nods knowingly accepting that it is just part of being a new parent. But if a gardener shows up to work with a little dirt on her knees, people wonder what kind of slob she is. There is no recognition that sometimes there are unseen forces that carry you out to the garden at odd times, when you don't have on the proper clothing, and before you know it, the knees of your good slacks are dirty.

So I waited until after work to go out and thin the corn.

I think this will give the remaining corn a better chance of tasseling and forming ears, but still provide enough corn for pollination. But I'll admit my expectations are low. Just two, maybe three good ears is all I ask for. Then I can start boiling some water, run out and harvest my sweet corn, shuck it, throw it in the boiling water, and cook it for just a few minutes, so it is as sweet as possible. I wouldn't want there to be one extra minute for the sugars to turn to starch.

It took some willpower to thin out the corn. How did I do it? First, it was threatening to rain when I got home, and in spite of the lack of rainfall, I had to wish that it wouldn't rain for just a little while long. That was hard! Then I cut the stalks off rather than pull them out so I wouldn't disturb the shallow roots of the remaining stalks. I kept my eyes at the base of the corn and cut back based on stem size and spacing. I didn't concern myself with height. Cut and remove, cut and remove, down through each row.
Now I have enough corn leaves to thatch the roof of a tiki hut, Hoosier style.

But more importantly, I hope I've improved my chances of harvesting a few good ears of sweet corn.


  1. Carol: LOL at your comments on dirty slacks. I seem to always have a bit of dirt under my nails or what passes for nails. I can't seem to pass a weed without plucking it! That then leads to plucking more and then I have dirty nails. Oh well there are worse things! I could have baby spit down my back.

  2. Glad to know there is a name for the syndrome. I thought that I was the only one that had it. Half the time I never get to the initial thing that I went out to do, because I am distracted by 15 other things that need doing also.

  3. You know I was wondering the same thing. I'm was waiting on all of my Echinacea plants to bloom before posting it. But since it is the first time that E. Purpurea blooming so I wasn't so sure.

  4. Sigh--I can totally relate. I can't seem to enter the garden without getting my hands in the soil for some reason or another. Unfortunately, I have clayey soil and it adsorbs really, really well to the dry skin around my fingers. I can never get them entirely clean no matter how much I wash. It goes without saying I keep my nails as short as possible.

  5. Carol, I hope you get some nicely filled out ears of corn! It's worth the effort, so hang in there!!

  6. I suffer from G.A.D.S. too and sometimes think I must look like a shooting gallery bear going back and forth from what I should be doing to what I'm compelled and popping up again to go back to what I should be doing! And since gardening is what I "do" - I am never not head-to-toe dirty knees! I think you should wear your garden soil to work like a badge of honor!

  7. Thank you for identifying my disorder :-) You are a toughie...I'm very bad at thinning. I just hate yanking out plants, even if I know the remaining ones will grow better because of it.

    Interesting about the purple coneflower. Mine's about to start blooming. Now I'm curious to see how it turns out.

  8. You are too funny. I am the same way - but I love how you describe it. This year is the first year that I've made myself thin my plants and I love how wonderful the remaining plants look...should have done it years ago.

  9. I showed up to work with dirty pants after a thunderstorm knocked over some tomato plants. That's what I get for checking the garden in the morning.

  10. Huh. I was just wondering the same thing about my echinacea, only I was wondering if it had the amazing deep color because of all the rain we have been getting.

    Dirty nails? Dirty clothes? I am constantly fighting that battle. If I have 30 minutes between massages I do not go outside, because I know that I will return for the next client in an unprofessional condition. That is, unprofessional for a massage therapist, not for a gardener.

  11. All... See? @e gardeners are quite a bit alike. We just have to compare notes to realize it. Thanks all for the comments and affirmation!

    Now I need to go out to the garden to do one thing, then another, then something else, than go over there and get that weed, then over to the other side to see that flower and then stop and wonder what I was really going to do in the garden in the first place. GADS!

    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  12. I love that I'm not the only one with "G.A.D.S."-it's definately the most pleasant affliction out there! I bet your corn will do just fine now, and I'm looking forward to pics of your "Hoosier Hut"! ;-)

  13. I have a bad case of the GADS, too!

  14. Oh, the pants I have ruined from GADS while waiting for people to go somewhere. I'm always ready first, I always go out to the front garden to "look" while waiting, I always end up doing something, and then everyone waits for me while I change my clothes! If they were just ready sooner, we wouldn't have this problem! LOL! ~A :-)


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