Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Planting Sweet Corn

The sweet corn is finally planted in the garden on the Back Forty.  It is a little late in the season but the weather has been chilly.  To prepare for the planting, I tilled the soil and pulled the dollar weed as I went along.  I spread compost over the tilled area and smoothed it out with a rake.

I was going to make rows about one foot apart when my engineering husband pulled out a tape and measured out a two foot distance between the rows and marked them with pegs. We agreed on planting the corn about three inches deep and one foot apart. He said to plant two kernels but I wanted to plant three.  He also suggested that I fertilize whereas I prefer to wait until the corn has taken root and started growing,

The result of this minor dispute:  I made furrows two feet apart, fertilized, and planted two (2) kernels of corn about one (1) foot apart in the rows, covered them up, and gently tapped the soil down.

My husband and I do agree on the type of sweet corn.  Hands down 'Silver Queen' wins.  It is a white corn and very sweet.  Some people will eat it directly from the stalk.  In other words, no cooking required.  I put in a few leaves of sweet basil with the corn when I am cooking.  I just let it come to a boil and it's done.  When cooking/grilling corn outside, I wrap the ears in foil, add a bit of water, sweet basil, and put them on the grill along with the hot dogs or hamburgers.

It takes about 7 days for the corn to germinate and 75 - 100 days to mature.  For the purpose of pollination, the corn needs to be planted in blocks of several rows, as opposed a single long row.

When the silks have developed, use a medicine dropper to dribble a few drops of mineral oil onto the silks with the idea that the oil will run down into the kernels on the cob.  This prevents worms and other bugs from getting into the ear.  You may easily obtain a bottle of mineral oil at the grocery store or the pharmacy.

When the ears of corn are ready to harvest, the silks will turn brown/black and dry.  It is also a good idea to pull the stalks when the harvest is complete.  Some people save the stalks for decorations at Halloween and even at Thanksgiving.

To freeze corn on the cob:  Blanche in hot water, let cool under running water, bag 'em and freeze 'em.  It is easy to remove the corn kernels from its cob after blanching and cooling, if you prefer to freeze them that way.

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