Thursday, February 12, 2009

A Warning About Corn: Gardening Basics for the New Obama Gardener

It seems like a great idea to plant a few seeds of corn, doesn't it? A few stalks growing in a corner of your wee garden that might produce ten or fifteen ears would be just grand, right? 

Don't do it. 

Don't plant corn unless you have a substantial section of land, like ten or twenty rows, to devote to maize. 

When I was a kid, my dad planted eight stalks of corn by the fence in our little kitchen garden. He watered them every day. They grew tall and thick and had lovely, leafy pods, ready for the picking. 

Then we picked them. 

(Veteran farmers are laughing their booties off right now.) 

When we peeled back the leaves on the cobs, about five little kernels were stuck on each cob, each like a baby's lonely first tooth in a smooth expanse of gums. 

My grandfather, an old Nebraskan rancher, laughed at my dad when he asked what he had done wrong. Evidently, corn cross-pollinates. You've got to have a big plot with a bunch of rows to get enough pollen flying around to cross-pollinate. 

We did grow a bumper crop of zucchini, though. 



  1. Good point...don't plant a single row. But if you plant in blocks, say 7 X 7, you'd get a crop.


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