I wasn’t sure how much of a corn harvest we’d have this year, as we were hit with heavy wind and rain about the time the corn was tasseling out. July 15th found much of my corn nearly flat on the ground.
Comments were flying around Facebook about how to cope with this, and most folks said just to leave it and hope it came back up, but the ground was so wet and the corn was so tall that I knew if I didn’t get it upright the stalks would grow curved. (I have had this happen before and ended up with a tangled mess.) The boys and I pounded in stakes at intervals along the rows. We then tied twines/ropes between the stakes, bracing the tipping corn against the twine.
We got hit bad one more time, but most of the corn stayed upright. We did end up with a few curved stalks, but nothing too serious.
My sister and her husband came to visit recently and were kind enough to pitch in with round one of corn harvesting (variety – Spring Treat from Fedco Garden Seeds). Never let it be said that I don’t know how to show someone a good time. ;-) We ended up with a bumper crop, harvested in high heat and humidity. Husking the corn was sticky work.
Two five gallon tubs turned into a pretty sizable pile of corn – over twice the size of last year’s harvest.
I won’t get into the picking and processing details here (you can look at last year’s post for that information). As I said above, we ended up with more than twice the amount of corn harvested last season.
With this and second crop (Tuxedo), we should be more than set until next harvest.
I do want to point out something that is frustrating to me that I can’t do a darn thing about – genetic contamination. Take a look at this close up of a corn cob.
Every strand of silk forms a kernel. Corn pollen to fertilize those silks is borne on the wind and can travel for miles. Look at the center of the photo. See the darker kernel? That’s likely GMO (genetically modified organism) contamination from my neighbor’s field corn. The majority of field corn planted in the United States is now genetically modified. Although I’d prefer not to eat this, it’s not a huge deal for me on such a minimal scale. The same can’t be said for others. Bt corn (corn that is modified to produce it’s own insecticide) is making pests resistant to Bt, one of the only natural pest control methods available to organic farmers. (Bt is a naturally occurring organism that gives caterpillars “fatal tummyaches”.)
I’ve been suspecting for some time that the recent rise in allergies is influenced by the increased amount of GM corn and soy in our diets, and I’m not the only one. Further, for those that save seed, GMO corn is destroying heirloom varieties that have existed for generations, and contaminating non-GMO fields around the world. My favorite seed catalog, Fedco Garden Seeds, tests their seed corn each year for contamination. They regularly have to pull some varieties because they have been contaminated with GM seed. It’s pretty frustrating.
What can we do? Educate yourself. If you have a garden, look for seed sources that are not owned by the agri-business giants (my sidebar has my personal favorites). Try heirloom, open pollinated and standard hybrids. Buy organic when you can. Organic products (as of this writing) cannot use GMOs. The corporations are dominated by profits. If we won’t buy products, they loose money. If you feel inclined, write to the food manufacturer of your choice and tell them that you don’t want to eat genetically engineered food. Write to your congressman and tell them you support labeling of GM foods. It’s slow going, but people demanding real food are making a difference.
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This post has been added to: Simple Lives Thursday