Monday, August 30, 2010
Mondays vege growing installment
The weekend at the State fair was really enjoyable. All the standardbreds were very pleasant to be around. I have officially been reinfected with the horse racing bug. Poor Yogi, he's in for it, LOL.
While I was enjoying the horses, my mind was moving in multiple directions (as usual) and I thought about this post and what I'd like to share. As you can probably already tell, I want to share some thoughts on growing corn. Corn is actually much easier than some folks make it out to be and you don't need a 100 acre field to enjoy any type of corn. The plant consists of 2 parts for pollination, the tassle on the top and the silks on the stalk. The silks are where the ear of corn comes from. The particles from the tassle fall down onto the silks and make the ear. So, it is much better to plant your corn in clumps or blocks as opposed to just a couple long rows. Corn is a heavy feeder and loves rich soil. Corn prefers well drained, slightly acidic soil with plenty of moisture. Consistent watering through ear development is the key to a good crop. Planting is pretty simple, the soil needs to be at least 55F, deep and well worked. Set your seeds around 1” deep, around 4” apart, rows should be around 30” apart to allow for crop maintenance with in ground crops, raised beds and container plantings can be spaced much closer. Corn has plenty of roots close to the surface so close cultivation is difficult. Mulching around the stalks helps reduce weeds. There are a couple simple signs to let you know if your corn is growing properly. Purple tinged leaves signals phosphorus deficiency and pale green leaves signals nitrogen deficiency. Side dress as needed. If you planted sweet corn, the ears are ready when the silks are brown but still moist. A quick check of the kernels by pricking one- clear liquid means the ear is not ready. Milky liquid means it's ready and no liquid means it is past it's prime. Within 24 hours of being picked, sweet corn has turned more than half it's sugar to starch so it's best to eat or process your corn quickly after picking for the freshest, sweetest taste. If you planted popcorn, feed corn or cornmeal corn, it is best to allow the ears to dry on the stalk for as long as you can before picking.