Sunday, 10 October 2010

Sweetcorn fungus?



Back to the allotment yesterday - my first visit for weeks and weeks - and after all the recent rain, everything looking lush and green. Alas, most of it is weeds, one bed in particular which I planted up with beans at the end of August was also covered with flowering chickweed and speedwell (delicately pretty) to nearly a foot high., Fortunately these were also interspersed with self seeded sorrel and rocket, which will be lovely in autumn salads until the first frosts. Every cloud...

P picked runner beans and sweetcorn on Monday - the beans looked promising but as they'd been on the vine so long, were very stringy, so we'll eat the rest in soups and stews without the sweet pods.

All the sunflowers are now well past their best; one had spread over a whole bed, I've never seen so many flowerheads on one plant before. The rest have gone to seed, which I've left in hope of feeding some goldfinches once they arrive here in the south later this month on their winter migration from northern Scandinavia.



Now here's a puzzle for you - what on earth happened to this sweetcorn cob? I've looked for similar pics of sweetcorn diseases but not been able to find any free information on a quick trawl of websites. The growths appear to be full of soil or compost, it doesn't smell, it just looks gross close up. I couldn't see any bugs in it either, so assume it must be a fungus. Any ideas anyone?

8 comments:

Andi's English Attic said...

'fraid I know nothing about sweetcorn fungus, but you're right - that looks gross.
How nice you are to think about the returning birds. Unfortunately we have a crow mafia around here that scare off everything. They even have a go at the squirrels. xx

Scattered Gardener said...

It is in fact corn smut, and it was lucky I brought it home to put in the rubbish rather than adding it to the compost heap. Apparently it is indeed a fungus that occurs if sweetcorn is harvested late, and we are cautioned not to allow any of the mucky stuff inside the white pouches to hit the soil...
Sorry to hear about your crow mafia, Andy. Round here they're too busy chasing off the birds of prey to bother the squirrels:-)

Green Lane Allotments said...

Hi - thanks for making a comment on my blog - I came here to see what you get up to and am glad I did. WE still have corn on our plants so I'll look out for the smut when w next visit the plot - when it stops raining!!

Esther Montgomery said...

It's frustrating this, I've tried twice but can't get the photos to load. I don't mind missing the Corn Smut (what a name!) but I would have liked to see the allotment in what sounds like a rather beautiful and relaxed state.

If you need to identify another surprising thing in the natural world, there's Ispot. It's run by the Open University and its partly to create a photographic resource and, in part, to help with ID. I only came across it recently and it's rather good.

Esther

Esther Montgomery said...

Sorry, meant to leave the Ispot link. It's this.

http://ispot.org.uk/

Esther

Craig Rockfield said...

That is the most unusual plant disease i've seen so far. Nice blog by the way scattered :D

You are more than welcome to visit mine too from time to time over at Dykes Edge :D

All the best, Craig.

mangocheeks said...

I saw this once when I went sweetcorn picking with my mother when I was small and in my imagination told myself it was an alient life-form. I am much older now, but still cannot tell you what it is. Glad to learn that other bloggers know though (corn smut).

happyskunk said...

You should try eating the corn smut. I had some corn smut tacos in Mexico that were good. They had some good cheese in Mexico too.
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/36799184/ns/health-diet_and_nutrition/t/corn-smut-tastes-great-good-you-too/