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July 20, 2010

On corn and in-laws

cornHere's an update on my backyard corn crop.

As I wrote last month, I am giving corn a try in my garden. I thought it was going well, but when I showed the plants to my father-in-law in late June, he pronounced them anemic and said they wouldn't amount to anything without chemical fertilizers.

Since then, I've lavished an entire $12 jug of compost "tea" on the plants. I've shelled out another $12 for an even fouler-smelling fish fertilizer called "Neptune's Harvest."

I even dug up one straggler, put the skin from my rockfish dinner beneath the roots, and replanted it. (Isn't that how Squanto helped the Pilgrims show up their in-law naysayers?)

After several weeks of this special, stinky treatment, some of the stalks are taller than I am. (I'm only 5-foot-3, so maybe that's not saying much.) Other stalks are chest high. A few are just knee high. About half have sprouted ears. They're skinny-looking ears, but I think they're coming along. I like to think of them as svelte, not anemic.

Photo by math-hubby

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 1:23 PM | | Comments (4)


Didn't the Pilgrims leave all the naysayers back in the old world?

You'll know your corn is a success when the raccoons ravage your crop.

A lot depends on the type of corn you planted, the weather, and it's number of days to maturity. I use to get excellent results, in northern Carroll Co, using dehydrated cow manure and year old chicken manure. I would work the manure into the rows prior to planting, then thin the rows (if the crows didn't do it for me) as they started to grow, As Dahkink said as the ears form you have the raccoons to worry about. I usually planted varieties that took 75 to 90 days to mature, so I started getting corn around mid July at the earliest.

My favorite variety was from Burpee, called Candy Stick it was 80 days to mature and it was so sweet. I don't think they offer it anymore. Allas all good things end sooner or later.

Good luck with your crop. The picture looks like it's developing well.

Thanks, Jack. LV

I posted something about my corn quest on Garden Variety, The Sun's gardening blog, to help out the vacationing Susan Reimer. The post elicited this response from Joseph Tychonievich. He writes:

"As Christopher says, corn needs LOTS of nitrogen. Urine is a good source... just dilute it in water first. (I know that sounds gross, but: Why flush it, when you can grow plants with it? And: Urine is sterile by the way.)"

I can just imagine the scene at the Thanksgiving table:

Hey, Dad. Enjoying that soup? I made it with that corn you said would never amount to anything. And guess how I got it to grow? Bodily fluids!

All kidding aside, I have read about using urine as fertilizer in Organic Gardening magazine. The magazine added a warning along the lines of, "Just don't let your neighbors see you collect it."

Hmmm, I think I'm going to go out and water my plants. I hope I don't get arrested.

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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