Scientists believe people living in central Mexico developed corn at least 7000 years ago. As you probably know it was a staple in the diet of the native American Indian. Corn is often classified as dent corn, flint corn, flour corn, popcorn, sweet corn, waxy corn, and pod corn. Over the years many different varieties have been developed in each class. Corn is a good source of vitamin B1, vitamin B5, folate, dietary fiber, vitamin C, phosphorus and manganese.
I enjoy many wonderful foods from my garden but my all time favorite is sweet corn. There is no comparison between buying corn in stores and growing corn in your own garden. When you grow your own you can also by-pass the GMOs and chemicals. Peter Whoriskey reported in the Washington Post, Nov. 29, 2009, that 80% of the corn grown in the US is grown from genetically altered seed. Local farms and farmers markets are good places to buy corn if you can't grow your own. Sweet corn is great raw, steamed, boiled, creamed, with beans and many other ways. Breeder's Choice sweet corn seed has performed well for me and taste delicious. Damon Morgan Kentucky Butcher corn is my choice for cornbread and corn tortillas.
The first planting of corn should be planted after the soil has warmed and the danger of frost has past. I get a head start by growing corn transplants which I plant in the garden when frost danger has past. This also gives the corn an advantage over the weeds and eliminates poor seed germination. I plant successive plantings at 2 - 3 week intervals through June. Growing corn transplants several times in succession provides a lengthy corn harvest.
Corn is a heavy feeder yet I have great success growing it in well managed organic soil with a small amount of organic fertilizer that provides nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium. It should be watered once a week if there hasn't been sufficient rainfall. Raccoons love corn. A good fence is your best defense against these masked corn thieves. Corn earworms are annoying but can be controlled with a couple drops of mineral oil placed on the silk at the tip of the corn ear just after the silk begins to turn brown. Using mineral oil before the silk begins to turn brown can interfere with pollination.
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