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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
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Jackie Clay

Q and A: limescale in canner and raccoons in the corn patch

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

Limescale in canner

I made your V-8 type juice yesterday and it smelled heavenly! However, I had to use a large kettle that I sometimes use for waterbathing to heat all the juice in to 190 degrees. This kettle had limescale on the bottom, but imagine my surprise when it was all gone when I scooped out the last of the juice! I should have anticipated this, but my question is, is my juice ok or has the ph been compromised by this? I was careful to add the lemon juice to each jar as directed.


I’d imagine that your juice is just fine. The extra lemon juice generally covers such problems. Now you know how to clean your pot! (Vinegar is cheaper and works well, too.) — Jackie

Raccoons in the corn patch

Corn and raccoons…This is our first year growing sweet corn and in one night, the raccoons took out a third of it. The remainder is not ready to pick (small, hard kernels) so we are at risk for losing more. We do not have a dog to turn out into the patch. There are some pretty wild ideas out there for protecting against raccoons. Do you have tried and true suggestions or should I just double the patch next year and share.

Michele Zipf
Batavia, Ohio

You can try putting a radio out in your garden with a talk-station on. That sometimes works. But the only thing that really works is to fence the corn patch. This is one place I like electric fencing. If you run electric fence wire all around the corn patch, (mow the fence line first), keeping your bottom row about 6 inches from the ground, then repeating with 4 more rows, 6 inches apart, Mr. Coon will stay away. You’ll have to check the fence every morning for a few days as there could be spots that were compromised by shocked coons. But after a day or two, you should have no more trouble. If you double your patch next year, more coons will just show up to “share” with you. For a permanent anti-coon system, I advise steel T-posts with 2×4-inch welded wire around the patch with a stand-off electric wire at 6 inches, then at 12 inches. This nearly always keeps the raccoons away. They DO love ripe sweet corn! — Jackie

7 Responses to “Q and A: limescale in canner and raccoons in the corn patch”

  1. Linda DeGroot Says:

    After a few days, the coons will overcome their fear of the radio. Light keep them away, too. So, I would try light the second night. If the raccoons have been acclimated to lights and sound by being around homes, neither will work. They get into the attic right over my head while the tv is on. One night, a raccoon was coming up the porch steps to come inside and get her kits that fell through my ceiling. There were three policepersons and two EMTs (for me), and the raccoon just kept coming. It sounds like there are too many to trap. I trap raccoons every year and, as you said, others move into the neighborhood. Yes, I live in the city.

  2. marlene kevelin Says:

    friends put in a small garden on our acre, they have corn with tassles, but no corncobs on the plant just leaves. seems kinda odd to me, does the cobs come on later?

  3. Wendy Hause, Gregory MI Says:

    Agree with Jackie on the electric fence. We’ve tried “it all” and the only thing that keeps them away is the electric fence.

  4. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    The tassels come first and if you look down along the stalk, you’ll see little flags which are the very beginnings of the ears. Once the tassels mature, the ears are beginning to form and you’ll see green silk, ready to receive the pollen from the tassels. Then after being pollinated, the tassels slowly turn brown until they are dark and the kernels are ripe.

  5. Betty Says:

    I totally agree with the electric fence around the corn patch. For several years we’ve used 12″ chicken wire with fiberglass posts. This year my fiberglass ones had been used elsewhere, so we substituted used 1/2″ pvc. Worked just as well. The coons can’t get under, through or over. You just weave the post through the holes in the chicken wire. (Just make sure you don’t get the rubber coated wire) Drive them into the ground and attach your fencer. We use a solar fencer.

  6. Betty Says:

    Sorry, forgot one element. My hubby puts steel posts at the corners for stability.

  7. Damie Says:

    We have had good luck with planting pumpkins/squash on the field/wood side of the corn rows. Racoons sit up to look around and the pumpkins/squash plants are too tall for them to see over.

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