Thinking About Sweet Corn

We had a successful opening day at the farmer’s market and we’ve been fortunate that our spring crops are turning out well.  And now, after another cold wet week, the weather has finally turned sunny and warm so it’s time to focus on getting our hot weather crops in the ground.

Sweet corn is one of the first things we’ll be planting once the ground is dry enough.  I try to get it planted as soon after April 20 as the soil permits.  So far that hasn’t happened yet, but this week looks promising.

We don’t grow sweet corn for market any more. There were two reasons we stopped growing it on that scale.

First, everyone and his uncle grows sweet corn around here it seems and there are farmers who push the envelope to have the first sweet corn of the year (to capture eager customers and the highest prices).  We always sold out, but I wondered whether we ought to devote our energy and space to other crops instead.

The second reason was the one that made up my mind.  For two years in a row we planted large gardens of corn, only to have them eaten and destroyed by raccoons.  One year we only harvested a couple of ears.  I could never devise a way to keep them out of the garden (and I tried everything I could think of). So I decided not to bother raising sweet corn as raccoon food any more.

So last year we only planted a few rows for ourselves, and I didn’t bother tending it much.  Naturally we ended up with a bumper crop of some of the best corn I’ve ever raised.  We froze lots of it and are still enjoying the goodness.

This year we’re going to continue only planting enough for ourselves. Hopefully we’ll end up without another great crop.

We plant the Silver Queen variety.  Around here sweet corn is Silver Queen, although some farmers plant higher-yielding, quicker-maturing white sweet corn and pass it off as Silver Queen.  I’m sure there are lots of other delicious varieties, but I’ve just never felt the urge to experiment.  As the saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

But as anxious as I am to get the sweet corn planted, it’s going to have to wait at least a few more days. Today we start shooting the videos for the video study that will accompany my book.  That will be a new experience for me. To be honest, I’d much rather be planting sweet corn.