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THE CHALLENGE OF RAISING CORN IN ROCKPORT, TEXAS

I have raised corn for the past 13 years here at the Preserve in Aransas County. Every year there has been a challenge to raise the corn to maturity, so we get to enjoy the tender sweet Bicolor flavor hot out of the Microwave. I have added clay, compost, and organic fertilizers to the soil, used drip irrigation, and sprayed at least bi-weekly with the Spray-N-Grow Combo.

This year I planted Park Seed’s Ambrosia and Serendipity and Johnny’s Seeds’ Temptress which mature from 70-81 days. The plants were yellow green at first because the organic materials were still composting or breaking down, taking up the nitrogen. Then the worms attacked eating down into the center of the stalk. I sprayed with BT to no avail. When I added Spinosad to the BT the worm damage stopped and there were only a few worms that got into the ears. These are organic poisons. When the corn was about 2 feet high, I ‘laid it by’ using composted chicken manure. It took off growing and maturing. 

The drought dried out the soil, so I did extra watering sometimes by adding a third daily drip irrigation of 25 minutes and hand watering the rows at other times. When the .02” of rain came so did the wind which blew some of the corn stalks over or down. Another rain and wind came after I had straightened some stalks. 

In late April, we had a large “fall out” of various orioles after a strong storm. They ate grapefruit, grapes, and fruit jellies that my wife put out. These dozens of beautiful birds, with rusty to bright orange and black wings, also liked my ripening tomatoes and the 10” beans hanging down from the pole bean trellis. Something started attacking the corn ears, shredding the shucks and eating the grains. I have two strands of electrified wire all around the garden to keep the racoons and opossums from getting in. 

I thought it was the orioles attacking the corn. My wife thought it was mice or rats. She is a bird rehabber, so she always defends the birds. We finally decide the culprits were the fat fox squirrels that eat the bird seed at my wife’s many feeders. Of course, my wife had told me before to get out the motion detector water witch and set it up in the corn rows. I finally did and so far there has been no more damaged ears.

The Ambrosia is the corn I judge all other corns types by. The Temptress is larger around with larger kernels. It may not be quite as sweet. The Serendipity is later, larger, and longer eared. It has good flavor with excellent sweetness.

We put two ears of corn in their shucks in the microwave for about 3 minutes. Then we take them out and quickly shuck each ear under cold running water. They retain their heat on the plate that will melt butter.

Herman Green

5/19/2020    Garden Journals