Triumph to tragedy

sweetcorn seedlingsI was quite excited when I got these in on May 20th. Clearly it was safe to plant them out – it was during the hot week, and frost was definitely no longer an issue – and I thought to myself: “Smart move, Soilman. You’re about a week ahead of the game, and your sweetcorn is off to a great start. You’ll have a marvellous crop in August.”

Three weeks later, they’re the same size. Not an inch bigger… oh, and now a rather ill-looking yellow colour. They’re drowning (and freezing).

So now I’m thinking: “You cock, Soilman. You should have sown them last week and be thinking about planting them out at the end of June. You’ll get shit crops – if any – in August, September, October or any other bloody time.


In gardening, the difference between Hero and Zero is a frost, two weeks, three inches of rain and/or half a dozen pigeons. In any combination thereof.

10 Responses to “Triumph to tragedy”

  1. Kath Says:

    Then there’s crows(ravens?), slugs, snails, rust, rots and did I mention rain? Gardeners are either indestructibly optimistic or stark staring mad….hmmm…not necessarily mutually exclusive….

  2. Magic Cochin Says:

    It’s the same with my courgettes… planted out when we had the 2-day summer 3 weeks ago and I think they are shrinking!

    BUT the cool climate crops are doing splendidly… shallots, broad beans, strawberries, red currants, gooseberries and even the Isle of Wight garlic is looking great.

    Feeling sorry for those who have just started growing veg… last year and this have probably been the worst growing conditions I’ve ever known.


  3. Soilman Says:

    So right, Celia. I was blessed in my first two years of veg growing with supernaturally favourable weather conditions. Everything was easy (-ish), so I got a boost of enthusiasm and encouragement. If I’d had the weather of the last two seasons, I really wonder whether I’d still be gardening…

  4. Soilman Says:

    I didn’t know about the tomato feed, Kevin… I’ll give it a go!

    I don’t cover them, no: I’ve never had anything attack a small corn plant (fully grown ones are another matter – rats and birds attack the cobs).

  5. Tanya Walton Says:

    My babycorn is doing quite well…however I did only get them planted out last week and I still haven’t planted up my sweetcorn yet as I had to re-sow….now I’m glad that events unfolded and i didn’t get them out earlier…hope yours recover and give you some sort of crop.

  6. Tom Says:

    “You cock”: my son calls me “cock” sometimes. When spoken, the word invites an oddly deliberate enunciation. It’s the sort of word a hefty Bristolian might use – outside the kind of pub I used to go to in my youth – tasting its full insult, before throwing a punch at you.

    I’ve planted 4 sweetcorn plants. They’re doing crap too.

  7. Darren T Says:

    Yep, crap sweetcorn here, too. Grew to about 6-8 inches in modules in the greenhouse then as soon as I planted them out (a couple of weeks ago) the weather turned and they just… stopped.

    @Kevin – the corn + beans + squash thing is called ‘three sisters’ planting, apparently:

    And ta for the tom feed tip.

  8. Alan Says:


    We one year covered them and had a marvelous crop , short of group 4 on your plot you never know what is going on ??


  9. altadenahiker Says:

    I used to think I was kind of hard on myself. But thanks to you, I don’t think that anymore.

  10. Soilman Says:

    Not yet Kevin, but I live in hope!