I plant 200+ corn plants in a modified circle/block so that cross pollination is more effective and I have found that watering with a hose is much easier, too. The blue lines are the hose paths and the black lines with red indicia are the measured distances in imperial feet.
I have spent my life living and working in small spaces and I think hard about accessibility and ease of procedure. I used the principals of kitchen islands and office work flow centers to create this corn plot layout. I drag whatever hose is connected at the time but I prefer a shorter one. The shortest hose is ancient and kinks up like crazy but one of those new lightweight Pockethoses that have recently hit the markets is much easier to handle.
I love the new hoses, but I don’t like having to disconnect them and store them in a shady spot after each use. They are, however, a really bright green so the chances of mowing over them is greatly decreased. That’s a major hazard around our place. On the plus side, mowing does produce lots of short hoses.
I use drip hoses for the beds that are straight rows. It’s cheap, fun and easy. But it also involves watering where there are no plants. And there are always things that need specific watering as well as plantings in the corners of the fencing or filling the bird bath. I just haven’t wanted to deal with drip hoses strewn throughout the corn plot yet.
The Pocket hoses are connected to make a 100′ length so water can reach the farthest parts of the garden. I have a new plan for corner and fence plantings I’ll share with you all as the growing season progresses. It involves the veggies having their own hammocks. Another use for stash fabrics in the garden? We’ll see.
Dragging heavy duty hose is quite a workout. The planted garden space is approx 75′ long and 28′ wide and the fenced in space is bigger. I don’t have far to drag the much shorter corn hose and I don’t need to maneuver it very much for that matter as you can see from the 20′ width and 7′ length of the beds. Every part of the planting is easily accessible.
Once the corn has grown up a couple of feet and has developed a deeper root system that can benefit from flooding the trenches, I can thoroughly irrigate by laying a hose down at the head of the trenches.
Squiggley X’s mark the spots in the picture below. As the water’s force moves the soil throughout the growing season I may have to redo the trenches to improve water distribution. Last year I found that plants in the junction of the inner half-circles could be easily washed away. I didn’t plant there this year and may have to reinforce the junction in some way.
With the corn planted in a raised or hilled platform the sides are more exposed to the sun and I stick bean seeds into the edges of the platform to maximize the growing potential of the tilled area. I only grow bush beans as heavy pole beans mercilessly pull the corn stalks down.
BTW I saw a old picture of mounded beds in a field in Ireland where the growing platforms like these were arranged in rows and approximately 4′ wide. I can’t find the source now but if I find it I’ll post a link to it. The trenches would have allowed for gravity feed irrigation such as what I’ve used here.
Due to last year’s spotty germination I could plant the summer squashes and cucumbers in with wax beans amongst the corn and put dill and nasturtiums at the ends of the beds. This many sources of nectar drew massive crowds of bumblebees and wasps to pollinate the plot. These stinging guys made walking barefoot tricky and as things completely over grew the foot paths, it was difficult to see the veggies to harvest them in time before they grew too large.
The huge squash leaves overshadowed the younger corn plants to the point I had to fight to protect them (LOL, such a warrior woman). Gaely demonstrated the issue in photos taken early last year before the squash leaves grew to be the largest they could be!
Squash gets its own row this year! I am going to be a bit more lazy and plant only the beans and herbs. I definitely worked way too hard processing the abundant harvest and can’t stand on my feet in the kitchen for as many hours as it took. I am hoping that my hips and legs don’t suffer as much this year. I wonder if the strain and scoliosis in my back ended up contributing to an outbreak of shingles on my leg. Hmmmm, well at my soon to be advanced age of 63 I wouldn’t be surprised. The nerves in the spine are where the virus hangs out.
Anyway, I resolve to be nicer to me this year!
And true to my new goal of being a lazy lady I am not going to try to compute the efficacy of using this space to grow XX number of plants. I’ll leave that to the more inquisitive of us. I just must say that working this plot is incredibly enjoyable, it is magical when the corn towers over me and I’m hidden from view. It is wonderful to look at and even more wonderful to experience. Fantasy land in the suburban back yard.
I am so easily pleased at times.
Tender herbs placed at the ends of each bed means that the hose becomes a lethal weapon if it is dragged across them so I pound in stakes in front of the ends to protect the plantings. Yet again another fantasy imagine: saving the tender young things from the dragon hose.
It’s so enjoyable to make your own fun, don’t you think???