The hubbub around the Groundhog Hill area is that bands of raccoons are touring the nearby farms attacking unsuspecting and unprotected patches of Sweet Corn. A neighboring farmer had let loose some dogs but they didn’t keep the critters from their mission.
My brother, Philip, has one word of advice for me: Fence.
My wise father, who has seen it all, advises that raccoons would love nothing more than the challenge of climbing a fence before proceeding to climb a stalk of corn to procure an ear of corn, irregardless of color.
What’s a gardener to do then, I ask?
In years past, I have witnessed first-hand ears of sweet corn still attached to the still-standing stalk, however, the ears of corn have had their silks neatly and expertly peeled back and then thoroughly eaten. That’s a talented four-legged predator, folks. They love an all-you-can-eat buffet, too.
I have considered posting a large sign that clearly states in large block lettering that there are two very large tracts of field corn in the vicinity of Groundhog Hill and point the way to each, however, I doubt that would do much a good. The sign tickles me, though, so I keep thinking of creating it, nonetheless.
I also wonder what do we put in field corn to make it so unappetizing to deer and raccoons? If animals won’t eat it, perhaps humans shouldn’t, either.
My cousin Robert Lewis Enlow, Jr. saw me in Southern States the other day and told me he thought I “looked kinda lost.” I was standing in front of the shelves of various poisons looking for an appropriate potion and struggling with the decision: To buy or not to buy. Hence, the “lost look” on my face.
On the one hand, I don’t want to expend much energy to protect my corn crop as this is supposed to be my Go Crazy garden, and nothing says crazy like hanging bars of Dial Soap on tobacco sticks or leaving a radio playing all night to keep the critters away. I have lots of metal pie plates to hang, as well.
On the other hand, I want to harvest this purple corn. I actually have a cool restaurant in Louisville interested in a bushel (or two). A few readers of this column have actually said to me that they want to try some, as well.
I have this mental image of proudly presenting my purple corn to the chef of Restaurant TBA who, in my vision, insists on taking a Selfie with me and invites me to stay for lunch and a glass of Chicha Morada, the delicious drink made from purple corn.
While at lunch, I am proclaimed Peruvian Purple Corn Producer of the Year and am presented with a lifetime supply of coupons to Starbucks and a John Deere tractor.
But back to the garden. I’ve walked the perimeter of the corn and have measured how much fence I’ll need should I go that route. A complicated math problem ensues, switching my feet for actual feet then multiplying, etc.
Then comes the decision of Chicken Wire vs. Orange Plastic?
I feel pretty sure the critters can tear down the orange plastic pretty easily and could climb some chicken wire pretty handily, so what’s a Peruvian purple corn producer supposed to do….