Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Monday, March 7, 2016

A Little Corn-y

I can only dream.
I’ve never been able to grow corn.
The planets are aligned against it.
Why am I thinking of this in the middle of winter?
Because it’s the middle of winter.
Moving on . . .
For over forty years, I’ve kept a garden.
Oh, it has changed in that time.
Mostly gotten smaller.
For many, many of those years, I attempted to grow corn.
Corn-on-the-cob just says summer to me.
Most of the time, my tidy little corn plants merely peeked above ground.
Sighed.
And died.
Twice, they grew to maturity.
Developed ears, even.
And then . . .
Well, let me tell you about it.
I had a large garden behind our mobile home just outside of Orton, Alberta. (Near Fort MacLeod)
It was growing beautifully.
The weather had cooperated.
The rains had come when they were needed.
Plenty of sun.
For the first time, ever, I had mature corn plants.
Nearly ready to harvest mature corn plants.
Then, one sunny, but slightly breezy day, the county sprayer drove by.
Spraying the ditches.
For weeds.
Now, if there is any wind, the county sprayers are supposed to be cautious. Not spray near homesteads. Avoid people.
This sprayer . . . wasn’t.
And did.
And the next day, I walked out into my garden and noticed that everything looked . . . wilted.
My first thought was frost.
Okay, it was July, the only month of the year when frost is . . . uncommon.
Then I remembered the sprayer.
Long story short – the weed-killer had lived up to its name.
My garden – and my beautiful corn – was dead.
Sigh.
A couple of years later, in a different small house and with a different garden patch, I again saw my efforts to grow corn rewarded.
Saw ears develop.
And then . . . grasshoppers.
In 1983, in Southern Alberta, we had a ‘plague of locusts’. A real plague – look it up. They were so numerous that cars were known to slip in the tide that constantly flowed across the roads. They devoured crops and hay.
And my corn. Drilled holes right through those babies.
Another sigh.
Oh, I didn’t give up.
I tried.
And tried.
And tried.
But never again did my corn amount to anything more than tall, attractive (earless) plants.
I still eat corn.
And corn-on-the-cob still shouts summer to me.
But, alas, someone else has to do the growing.
I will stick with the appreciating.
And devouring.
The two things I’m obviously best at.

6 comments:

  1. How frustrating. Without a doubt there's nothing in the summer like fresh corn on the cob. I hope some day you try again.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sigh. Perhaps I shouldn't tell you that we have corn growing in our flower bed. A bird's cast off.
    It is stone fruit which spells summer to me. And berries.
    I do hope you can grow your own corn someday though.

    ReplyDelete
  3. What are the chances of your crop being killed by such remote possibilities BOTH TIMES? Sigh.

    I love corn, too. Can't eat very much of it now due to intolerance issues, but just the thought is making my mouth water. And I always associate a corn boil with a huge family get-together we had with my dad's family one summer. It was so much fun, and the corn memories are all smooshed in with the fun memories of being with cousins and aunts and uncles and swimming after dark in the river ... thanks for bringing back that good memory.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I grew an edible ear of corn once. ONE ear of corn from about twenty plants. That's all I got :(

    ReplyDelete
  5. Growing corn in Alberta under the best of circumstances is difficult, much less with the challenges you were presented with! My parents had a garden just outside of Calgary, and we found a variety of seed that would mature in the short winters. The problem was - the ears were so tiny, you had to eat about 15 to get your fill!

    ReplyDelete
  6. We are just getting our gardens ready to be planted next week. I have never had any luck with corn either, but there is nothing better in summer time except maybe an ice cold watermelon! Luckily, I live 1/2 a mile from a big fruit and vegetable farm and I frequent them every chance I get!

    ReplyDelete

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