Monday, September 5, 2011

Rise of corn

Success: the corn continued to flourish, despite hurricane Irene.
Yes, those plants are much taller than me.
The plants are audacious things, huge spears poking up despite torrents and winds.  It's an eerie, sweet experience to walk among plants taller than yourself, and only a couple of months old.

A couple of months, and these fast-growing types are ready to harvest.  Notice the way the ears lean out, in the picture up above?  Time to pluck.
We won 2-3 ears/plant this time.  Each was about 5-6" long -not so big as grocery-store-bought ones.  Boiled up, they were excellent.

So, Ceredwyn and I are strategizing, with friends.  It seems like we can grow corn* up here on the mountain. How to proceed?
(Well, immediately we turn the green leaves to compost, and feed the husks to chickens.  Eat some of the corn, and freeze the rest)

Perhaps we should build a much larger plot for next year.  At 2-3 ears/plant, how many should we plan to sow?  Let's do some rough calculation.

  1. Assume we four people eat five ears per day, cooked and consumed in various ways.  Some days we eat more, some less. That's 1825 ears per year.
  2. Assume we can store corn sufficiently for a year (frozen, canned).
  3. Looks like 730 plants are called for, total.
  4. We now know that a grid pattern is essential for planting, so that plants cross-fertilize to maximum growth.  Assume a square layout - 27 x 27 plants.
If that's right, we need to start clearing extra space now, before the frost locks up the soil.

If we do this the right way, it's another step towards sustainability.  Corn's excellent food, and all four of us eat it (amazingly).

*Corn: I'm talking about sweet corn.  Field corn is a different thing, and we haven't tried it yet.  I'd like to, so we can mill it into corn meal.

1 comment:

mythago said...

Nice! Our corn grew quickly (as you remember me bragging about) but turned out kinda meh. Some of it was the grid pattern you mention - I didn't screen the planted seeds off from birds well enough - and some of it, I fear, is that Northern California just doesn't stay hot enough at night to get really good corn. It also takes up a lot of garden space, which is at a premium for me. I may plant something different next year.