Choosing Corn Varieties, Making Zinnia Bouquets

The first corn is disappointing, starchy and less sweet than it might be, and I think I know why. We used up some older seed for the first planting and when – no surprise – germination was lousy, Bill ( who is in charge of the corn) just bought some tasty-looking new stuff and used it to fill in the blanks. ” Is it the same type?” I asked. ” Got me, ” was the reply.
But if corn with one kind of sugar gene cross-pollinates another, neither of them is likely to taste as good as it should. Fortunately, there’s lots of old fashioned Stowell’s Evergreen, a late white corn that takes forever and a day so it never crosses with anything. It also often gets frosted JUST when it’s about to get ripe – I think of it as a sort of autumn magnolia – but it’s yummy when it comes through.

The annuals that got cut back hard at the end of July have responded with textbook zeal, even though they got a lot less water than would have been good. State Fair zinnias in particular. Great big flowers on gigantic bushes and for once more or less mildew free. Too bad the only bouquets you can put them in are big blowsy “everything but the kitchen sink it must be August” monsters. The “all one kind of flower” routine works pretty well, especially if you have a nice clunky vase, and it’s very much in fashion these days…but long about now I always remember last year’s vow not to grow them any more.

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