Monday, July 5, 2010

Knee-high by the 4th of July?

We have corn growing in the field behind our house and in the one across the road in front of our house this year. Last year, there was wheat behind us and beans in front of us.  I kind of like it when it's all corn, because it feels cozy.  It also perfumes the air with the telltale aroma of corn plants.  Even with my eyes closed, I can tell there's corn growing all around.

There's an old adage that says corn should be "knee-high by the 4th of July."  I've said before that with advances in farming, it no longer holds true in our area (zone 5 northwest Ohio), but this year has blown that completely out of the water.

Yesterday was the 4th of July.  Today, the corn measures 9' 2" , as shown by this photo I took today of six-foot-one Romie, standing next to it.  I think this is the tallest I've ever seen the corn and it likely isn't done growing just yet.

It's also tasseled out and shooting ears already.

The weather this year has been the topic of conversation ever since it started out this spring with warmer than normal temperatures that hung around instead of lasting just a couple of weeks.  That has translated into bloom times being early and growth patterns being oddly out of sync with what we call "normal" around here.

I've had asters blooming for over a week and some of the Prophet mums that I've kept pruned back, insist on blooming, too.  The toad lily that bloomed a couple of weeks ago is now forming seed pods, something the toad lilies rarely have enough time to do before frost.

Autumn could be interesting.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Isn't that the truth. I wonder what this fall and winter will bring us what with this warmer than normal summer.

Lona said...

My mother and I were talking about how high the corn is this year already. The farmers got it in at the right time. We have always heard that saying of knee high by the 4th of July but it was way over my short head this year.

Nathan (2af) said...

Not that I support conventional farming at all. That saying isn't obsolete because of advances in farming. The saying has to do with how high the corn has to be by the fourth in order to harvest it before freezing not necessarily how high it will or should be. In other words if you planted a crop late because of poor spring weather then your corn better be knee high by the fourth or it’s a lost cause. I have seven foot heirloom sweet corn by the 4th every year and use natural process in my growing. Nothing new or advanced.

Kylee Baumle said...

Lisa ~ Always an adventure, isn't it? ;-)

Lona ~ Yes, timing is everything! Many places near us have gotten WAY too much rain and got some of their crops in late, if at all. :-(

Nathan ~ That adage depends on a lot of things, not just advances in farming (including seed treatment or *shiver* modification), but general climate, that year's weather, just to name a few. I agree with you as to what the saying actually means. One of those things like pinching the mums and asters back and stopping by the 4th of July so they'll have enough time to set flower buds before frost.
This is the first year EVER that we haven't planted sweet corn and we'll be married for 35 years in August. We're losing our sun on our property due to trees growing taller and wider and us not wanting to dig up new ground. I'm going to miss it. My grandparents were farmers and my 95-year-old grandmother still owns the land and has someone else farm it. My parents have some, too - same thing. But no sweet corn. Thankfully, our son-in-law is from a farming family and raises sweet corn to sell, so we'll have some of that. I can't wait! (Stocking up on butter now. LOL)
Just hearing you talk about your heirloom sweet corn makes me want some. Our sweet corn was very tall very early last year. It was a special kind from Colorado that has a short growing period, so it was ahead of local corn by quite a bit.

Unknown said...

Oh my goodness. I'm heading "back home" this weekend, and now you have me thinking that the fields are going to be looking more "August" than "July" on my trip!

Love the photo of Romie looking up at the corn, by the way. Even if I didn't know how tall he his, that picture just says it all. :)

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