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  • leonie norrington

Corn capers (South American style)

I have two South American women staying with me at the moment. They were missing home, so we planted some corn, pumpkin and beans the way they do in South America. We built up the garden bed in the usual way, a layer of newspaper, a layer of palm fronds, a layer of soil, then compost, then manure and hay from the goat shed floor, then soil, compost and topped with mulch.

In South America they would dig trenches about 150mm deep and plant the corn seed at the bottom of the trench. The idea is that as the corn grows and puts down the aerial roots, you can fill in around it to give it greater stability. But this was a circle bed, so we decided to dig holes instead of trenches. We planted two seeds at either side of each hole. Then in the middle and around the edge we planted pumpkin seeds.

Then, of course to keep the bush chooks from turning our well organised garden bed into a scrub fowl nest, we covered it all with pig wire.

This morning the corn emerged - well most of them did. A few either rotted or got carried away by ants or birds or a clever marsupial. I'm replanting them right now.

When these little ones are about 200mm high we will plant a legume seed at the base of each plant - mung beans, peanuts, dwarf beans, any kind of legume will be perfect to fill in the bottom layer.

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