I've had some unhappiness with corn. In fact, I've tried to grow it three years in succession and not had a single grain that I could eat. This is truly a miserable record. In every case, typhoons followed long droughts, smashing down the weakened and stunted stalks, leaving only debris for the crows and ants to finish. Going to England for a crucial two weeks in the summer was probably also a contributing factor.
This time I'm determined to succeed. The price of grains is going off the metre now and everybody must do their bit to raise production. I've already been to England this spring, so I can tend my crop in the summer.
So I went to the local Daiki DIY store (formerly 'DIK' - I wish they hadn't changed their name) and bought 18 plants at 68 yen for 3. This is stunningly good value considering the price of corn seed and how poorly it does when planted directly. I also like the fact that you get a little bit of 'free' soil with your purchase.
Then I went to the bamboo grove and cut some nice straight poles to make borders for the bed. I think we need a posting soon all about bamboo. I tried weeding the bed which had been left fallow for many months, but ran out of time and just sort of turned the weeds under in the end and chucked lime on everything. This certainly won't have killed them, so mulch was imperative. I noticed that just under the surface, the soil was still very cold, so I decided to try the novel approach of 'tile mulch'. Up the hill there's a collapsed building with tiles lying among the weeds. I cart them down by wheelbarrow and use them for paths, borders and stuff. The hope is that the tiles will be heated by the sun, fry the weeds, warm the soil, and direct water onto the corn when it rains. This is probably too much to hope for, but it was a fun day nevertheless.
(While I was doing this, a friend dropped by. He was kind enough to say that the vegetable plot was beginning to look like the work of a professional. Actually, I'd been thinking the same sort of thing myself, although with the reservation that it was probably a very sloppy, time-pressed unorthodox sort of professional. It's nice to have friends who say encouraging things.)