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Baaaad Sheep!

July 20, 2014


Cascade Ruby-Gold flint corn

Cascade Ruby-Gold flint corn

My grand experiment this year with corn was growing a portion from transplants.  I know folks who transplant corn with great success, but I never really saw the need, I don’t participate in competitive gardening sports, so I’m not usually in that big of hurry.  But this year, I wanted to try a new flint corn, and I wanted to keep the resulting seed pure.  What to do?  I don’t have that much space that I can isolate (corn is wind-pollinated) so I wanted to stretch the maturity dates so the sweet corn and flint corn would bloom at different times.  Our heat units are such that I have a small window for planting corn and hoping for maturity.

Welcome sweet corn

Welcome sweet corn in the long rows, flint corn in the short rows at the back

Transplanting the corn was a pain for sure, but the plants seemed to tolerate my fumbling quite well.  I waited about three weeks and planted the sweet corn.  All was well in the corn block, until one evening the sheep got out.  As in one sheep.  We had company that night, it was a cool evening and we were chasing the sun.  The staple garden has sun until sunset, so we were basically just sitting in the headland and moving a bit as the sun moved.  We were staring right at the corn.  Nothing amiss.  After our friends left, I went up to close the perches on the nest box, and there was the sheep looking as content as all get out.  Burpp!  I could see the problem, a little wind gust had come through and we heard and saw some things flying around, but thought nothing of it, but a folded up tarp had blown right onto her electric netting.  She saw the opportunity and walked right out over that fence where the tarp was holding the fence down a bit offering an insulated pathway.  I thought nothing of it, I turned off the fence, removed the tarp, held the fence up so the sheep could go under and she was back in.  Done.

The burp?  Three rows of my four transplanted corn rows eaten down in thirty minutes.  I didn’t discover this until the next day when I went to weed said corn.  I was pretty discouraged, not knowing if it would survive the mowing and still be able to tassel and bloom.  You can see in the photo above how much taller the corn on the left is, I guess she decided to leave the corn and move to the grass.

The corn has come out of it, although the shorn plants are about a foot shorter.  I have no idea what the outcome will be come fall.  Hopefully enough to get a taste of the flint corn, and some seed for next year… .

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Chris permalink
    July 20, 2014 8:23 am

    Oh Grrrr! That was a baaaad sheep, sorry I had to laugh when I read the post title and then the story of what she had done. Hopefully the corn will recover…can we see a photo of said baaaad sheep? Just so we can virtually scold her? 🙂

    • July 20, 2014 10:08 am

      Chris, she’s mad at me now, I put her on thistle detail, which really means she eats around the thistles so I can chop them easier. I’ll see if I can get a picture of her, the stinker!

  2. July 20, 2014 9:40 am

    Livestock have a twisted sense of humor.

  3. Bev permalink
    July 20, 2014 1:27 pm

    I bet the air was blue around there. Going off topic and to your prior post. Talked to our friend Tim, and found out about the sunflowers. They are being raised for oil. The interesting part is that the oil is for the European market. They use a lot of sunflower oil. The crop was contracted out in the spring for a set price per acre. After reading about the sheep thought you might like to know that their biggest problem with the sunflowers is the birds going after the seeds. The plants are short and have multiple small booms. It is a beautiful sight to see. On the side lines they have lots of bee hives. Which is a plus for our garden. Looking forward to hearing about the Flint corn later.

    • July 20, 2014 1:52 pm

      It was blue, but of course 24 hours later, you can’t spank a sheep! Unless of course it is at the time of the incident 😉

      That’s interesting about the oil, I used some sunflower oil once in soap and boy did it get rancid fast! Nice soap for a bit, but it was pretty bad in a short time. I used the rest of the bottle for fly repellant carrier. Worked fine for that.

  4. July 20, 2014 3:46 pm

    Bad sheep!! c

  5. July 20, 2014 5:05 pm

    When we were in Germany we saw acres and acres or sunflowers. I think they were raised for the oil. Sorry about the corn, hope you still get some good corn from it.

  6. July 21, 2014 5:40 am

    I did not know you had sheep! Yes, pictures please :-D.

    • July 21, 2014 6:38 am

      We have just one, she’s retired but still does a good job mowing. Not counting corn mowing, that is 😦

  7. July 21, 2014 5:50 am

    Cascade Ruby-Gold flint corn must be delicious, the critters LOVE it! I wanted to grow flint corn this year also and had the same dilemma as you with the cross pollination and not enough space. I also came to the same conclusion, start it in cells early in the hoophouse and transplant! My critter was mice. Soon after their beautiful little corn noses poked thru the surface mice ravaged the tray and uprooted, ate or moved most of the baby plants. Insert @#$%&*! I salvaged what I could, about 15 plants out of 70. A week later, when weeding in the hoophouse, I noticed little corn plants scattered about. The little buggers had stashed the seeds and they grew! I dug them up, put them in pots and transplanted out 34 little corn seedlings when the soil warmed. My little patch of flint corn is doing well, beginning to send up tassels. I think this idea will work well if we can just keep the critters out!

    • July 21, 2014 6:37 am

      I had to abandon my seeding bench because of mice! Now I either hang the flats from the purlins or use barrels for propping up a makeshift potting bench. Add spinach and pepper seeds to the favorite list for mice. Even with our hard working cats, there are a few holdouts. Drives me crazy! Fingers crossed both of us will get some of that corn!

    • July 21, 2014 12:16 pm

      Really am sympathetic to the frustrating loss, but also laughing over you stealing your corn back when it sprouted. Glad you were able to recover at least some of it.

  8. Kristin permalink
    July 22, 2014 5:34 am

    I do have a good mutton sausage recipe. 🙂

  9. August 8, 2014 3:29 am

    I live half way around the globe, MoH, but we have the same troubles. A mule ate my precious sweet black corn. Am still waiting hopefully to see if the plants recover from their haircut. Hope we both have good luck!

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