Thursday, June 26, 2008

Corn . . . Sweet!

The recent storms in the midwest have created a situation where the crops grown there have suffered to the point where the harvest will be much less. What this means is the price paid for those crops has steadily risen and if a farmer is fortunate enough to have some in storage or have a crop that is unaffected by the storms, he will be sitting pretty. For example, corn was selling for around $4 a bushel a year ago. Today, it's over $7 and still rising.

We've raised corn here at Our Little Acre for as long as I can remember. The small vegetable plot we have was here when we bought our house and while some years we only managed to plant a part of it, there was always sweet corn. Harvest time in August has always meant a five-pound weight gain, due to eating so much corn slathered in butter. Sometimes we not only have corn with our meal, sweet corn IS our meal.

Corn always took up the most room in the garden, which means it has been grown in pretty much the same location year after year. The quality of that corn has made a steady decline in regard to number of stalks and stalks that produce nice full ears.

Plants take from the soil what they need to grow and unless those elements are replaced, the soil will suffer and plants grown there will suffer, too. We've historically never applied anything to our corn, including fertilizer, which no doubt has affected the quality of our crop.

As you can see from this recent photograph of our corn, we have issues once again, with spotty germination being the biggest one right now. Timing is everything when planting seeds and this spring, shortly after we planted our corn seeds, we received lots of rain and cool weather. The seed sat in the ground and a lot of it rotted, necessitating replanting.

We grow the supersweet varieties of corn, usually one white corn and one bicolor (white and yellow together). This year, we tried another variety simply for its novelty - 'Ruby Queen' is red! I've never eaten it before, so we'll see how it compares to our usual variety, 'Serendipity.'

We put fertilizer between the rows last week, and hopefully that will boost those weaker plants. In any case, I don't think we'll be reaping the benefits of higher corn prices with the corn we're growing in our garden. It doesn't matter anyway - we eat all the profits.


Curmudgeon said...

I hope you'll post pics of the red corn and let us know how it is. It sounds most interesting.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

As the farmers rotate their crops so should you Kylee. I bet that would help as much or more than fertilizer.

I too love that sweet corn. Our friend that usually has some for us lost all their crops in the flood. We probably won't have any this year. Sigh~~

Karen said...

Oh yes, love that sweet corn!

Nancy J. Bond said...

That ear of corn with butter atop -- is that ever mouth-watering! Good luck with this year's crop and I'll be anxious to see how the red corn tastes...that's a new one to me, too.

Cheryl said...

I love corn.......have never grown it but eat it often. Great with just a knob of butter.

Dave said...

The thought of good sweet corn is just mouthwatering, I can understand the weight gain! You might try a truckload of composted cow manure in the fall, or a red clover cover crop. The clover will put nitrogen back in the soil, which is what corn really sucks up out of the ground.

Unknown said...

Mmmm, corn....still at least six weeks away here, except the very early stuff. We have a farmer who grows acres of sweet corn, staggered plantings and cultivars and we eat a LOT of corn during the season. Right now, though, it's strawberries....yum!

Cindy Garber Iverson said...

No fair! No fair! Not only do you tease me by mentioning your roses in your last comment on my blog, but then I come over here to find that you grow corn in your garden! WAHHHH!!! We can't grow corn because it takes up too much room and uses too much water to be economical. Now my mouth is watering for fresh corn and my head is buzzing with the question, "What do Kylee's roses look like?"


Cindy at Rosehaven Cottage :-)

Kylee Baumle said...

Curmudgeon ~ You can count on that! I'll give a full report sometime in August. :-)

Lisa ~ Oh, I know about rotating crops, but we don't have enough room in our vegetable garden to do that. There would always be overlap of the corn area, so we decided to just plant it anyway. Maybe we should enlarge the veggie garden? Romie would just roll his eyes at that idea, since I'm ALWAYS digging up sod about every other week. LOL. We've talked about not growing sweet corn, but we have never done that since living here. There is a local farmer who sells his sweet corn and it's so good and not that expensive, so we usually buy some. Sorry to hear you lost your source. :-(

Karen ~ Nothing like eating it fresh from the garden, is there?

Nancy ~ That photo was taken from last year's corn. Makes you want some NOW, doesn't it? We're anxious to see how the red corn is, too!

Cheryl ~ ...and salt. Gotta have the salt. LOL

Dave ~ Last year, we grew green beans between the rows for that reason. Not sure what we'll do yet this year.

jodi ~ Same here. It's usually the first week of August or so before we are eating corn for every meal. Last year we grew an earlier variety, but not sure when these will mature this year, since we are growing two new (to us) varieties.
Strawberries here, too! It was a wonderful year for them - lots of berries. The flavor wasn't the best due to all the rain, but I made jam and it was yummy!!

Cindy ~ Well, you know what they say...Life's not fair! LOL. I'll do a post soon on the new roses. Just to taunt you. JUST KIDDING!!

Aiyana said...

Mouthwatering photo! Many years ago I grew corn and tomatoes one season, and we had corn on the cob and tomato slices every evening for weeks. I never tired of it, and occasionally we will have this same meal in the summer, but corn and tomatoes store-bought. We've having that Sunday!

Rose said...

Next to fresh tomatoes, fresh sweet corn is the highlight of the summer harvest. Like you, we usually eat far too much of it when it ripens. I was going to suggest the same thing as Lisa about rotation, but I understand the problem with a small plot.
It sounds as though we have had similar weather this spring.

Just noticed your gaillardia photo--I planted this variety this year, too, and so far it's lived up to expectations.

Sky said...

how delicious that looks! we used to have silver queen, i think it was, back in georgia. i loved it when mother took it off the cob, put it in the iron skillet and cooked it with butter and a tiny bit of milk and flour, i think. omg, that and vine ripe tomatoes were enough to thrill the heart!

Muum said...

mmm.. corn on the cob! Here in Utah, the soil is nowhere near as fertile as in good old Ohio, so I fertilize everything, and add compost (and add more compost!) or I would not get much of anything. PLus we have alkaline soils here.
but everyone has a challenge. Our spring was cool and relatively wet, too, so I had to reseed, also.

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