When Mr. Green Jeans wanted to plant corn on our urban farm, I kicked up a stink. Here’s why and how it turned out.
Corn is over-planted and over-used in America–in my opinion.
It’s fed to pets, cattle, pigs, and chickens, primarily to fatten them.
Corn syrup in sodas, juices, ketchup, salad dressings etc., equals addiction to sugar and obesity–another opinion.
If you are allergic to it, it’s really hard to avoid, as it’s an ingredient in many processed foods.
Unless it’s certified organic, it’s GMO corn–which I avoid.
In terms of growing it, not only is the plant a water-hog, but once ants invade it, the stalks fall over.
Basically, I don’t see a point to go to the effort. But I didn’t tell Mr. Green Jeans that, except I warned him about controlling the ants.
I liked the idea of growing our own corn seeds for popcorn, because we could plant a variety that was different from anything we could buy. Popcorn is one of my favorite snacks. I handed him a Territorial Seeds magazine and he selected Calico seeds, an heirloom variety which produced colorful ears of corn (see top photo).
While the corn grew, so did my fondness for it. Watering it wasn’t an issue. Being an engineery-fellow, David rigged a pipe from our laundry machine to water it, in part with our biodegradable soapy water as well as with a drip-hose.
We wondered if the effect of too much phosphates from the detergent made the corn grow taller (nitrogen makes the green parts of a plant grow).
We wondered if something was wrong with it. It was late summer before the tassels appeared and fall before the corn developed. Based upon my research, I believe it was a slow-growing variety.
Eventually the corn stalks were like a team of green soldiers guarding the bay.
The culprit I mentioned above did invade once the ears of corn began to grow. Aphids were attracted to a sticky substance on the inside of the leaves of the plant. Ants were attracted to the residue the aphids left.
David’s vigilance kept the pests under control. Every night after work, he jet-sprayed the stalks individually with soapy water. When a few stalks fell over, he surrounded the crop with two ropes placed at one third intervals around the stalks.
In all, we have been rewarded by his efforts with about six gallons of organic heirloom popcorn.
I love popcorn and I love David. He made our urban farm farmy. It was cool to see the corn plants grow so fast. He said he might grow sweet corn and next year and I won’t worry about it.
Aside: when we were in Mexico there were protests against Monsanto’s GMO corn.