When to pick sweet corn

I had to look up this answer myself since this is the first year I have grown sweet corn (Growing Challenge), here is the advice I found online:

From my personal experience, use tassel color to determine if you should even bother checking if it is ready. Use the kernel color to determine if should actually pick it, since when I previous tried just by tassel color it definitely needed another week of growth.

Does anyone else have any proven techniques to pick that perfect ear of corn?

Picking wild blackberries – the sequel



I enjoyed the blackberry pie so much I decided we needed some blackberry jam as well. I picked so sparsely at my first public berry picking location that I could have gone back and easily found enough berries to make jam, but it was a nice day and decided to take a walk in the woods with my youngest daughter. After exploring (getting lost for two hours) and picking various species of blackberries, I finally found civilization and called my wife to pick us, since walking along a busy road with no shoulder with a jogging stroller didn’t seem like a good idea (and I was tired).

I picked enough berries during our adventure for my wife to make 8 jars of jam (7 put in jars, 1 put in Tupperware for immediate consumption) I would provide our secret jam recipe but the nice people already put it on the package of SURE-JELL pectin.


7 cups of sugar $ 1.50
8 pints of blackberries $ 0.00
Pectin $ 2.00
Cost per jar $ 0.44

Where do cucumbers come from?

Cucumbers seem to have a similar property of peas that they seem to just appear out of nowhere. One day you see a little flower and seem to grow 10 inches overnight. I know this probably has more to the whole green camouflage and my eyes being bad but this year I kept a close eye on them and documented their growth.

Baby cucumbers (Day 1)

Cucumbers (Day 2….ok maybe a week)

How to save sunflower seeds

The trickiest part of harvesting sunflower seeds is timing. If you wait too long, the birds will let you know when you wake up to the head of the flower on the ground with seeds devoured. There are a couple of ways to get around this when the backs of your sunflowers begin to get yellow cover them with a paper bag or cheesecloth to inhibit the birds from stealing them. Given I probably would get a letter from my HOA if I did this in my backyard I opted to cut off the heads a few inches down and hang them upside down in my garage with a paper bag below to catch any loosening seeds. Every few days I run my hands across them if seeds start falling easily it is time to harvest. The best method I have found is using a painter’s roller screen used for 5 gallon buckets. I couple passes over this and the head is clean.

I am too lazy to roast and eat the seeds so I normally save a handful for next year’s planting and give the rest back to the birds over the fall/winter.

Picking wild blackberries (Blackberry pie recipe)

blackberries in hand

Given the price of produce these days and how blackberries cannot be killed here in the Pacific Northwest there are not too many trails that don’t have these bushes attempting to overtake them I decided to take my 4-year old with me blackberry picking. In just about 15 minutes (also length of time 4-year old has for blackberry picking) we were able to pick exactly 4 cups of blackberries. Since my 4-year old wants to “grow up to be baker like daddy” (obviously has no idea what I do for a living) we decided to use our fresh berries to make a blackberry pie.

blackberry pie

Blackberry pie recipe

  • 4 cups fresh blackberries
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 frozen pie crusts
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • Egg wash (1 egg + 1 tsp water)

Directions: Take 3-1/2 cups of blackberries and add with 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup flour, and 1/2 tsp of lemon juice and mix. Pour contents of bowl into pie crust and top with remaining 1/2 cup of blackberries.

blackberry pie

Cover with top crust and pinch edges closed. Brush the top with egg wash and sprinkle with a few pinches of white sugar. Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes, then at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.