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Field Report from Rural Route 2

I often get asked, “Can you plant different types of corn in one field?” The answer is “yes!”  And we do in the field that sprawls just east of our home.  This year the end rows are populated by popcorn, sweet corn and field corn. Back in May, my farm boy and his grandpa loaded four row units of the planter with Seminis Roundup Ready sweet corn and the rest with Wyffels field corn seed.  (Curious as to how a planter works? Wrote about that this spring.)  The sweet corn seed came to us from Monsanto, and we’ll share with family, friends and fellow bloggers via a corn boil in a few weeks.

Seminis Sweet CornSeed Tag

The last eight rows were planted to popcorn . . . by hand of course, because my farm kids are stubborn, independent folks who insist upon doing all the work for their crop.  Next year, we’ll let them drive the planter and tractor if that’s what it’ll take to avoid a plant and replant by hand.  Oy!

Farmers check their crops morning, noon and night.  And sometimes in pajamas right before bed.

Farmers check their crops morning, noon and night. And sometimes in pajamas right before bed.

The weather hasn’t been kind to us this summer.  I hesitate to say it, fully aware of the dire situations facing fellow farmers out west, but we have had our fill of rain.  The ground is so saturated that even a few tenths results in full waterways and field ponds.  Corn and beans do not like wet “feet” or roots. full waterwayfield pond In spite of the cool temps and wet conditions, our sweet corn tasseled last week and began pollinating.  This is why we can plant popcorn, sweet corn and field corn altogether.  Each type pollinates at different times.   For a more in-depth look at corn pollination, read this piece I wrote for The Genetic Literacy Project: Do GMO farms ‘contaminate’ neighboring crops?

This year our sweet corn is sandwiched between the shorter popcorn stalks and taller field corn. Can you see it topped with yellow tassels?

This year our sweet corn is sandwiched between the shorter popcorn stalks and taller field corn. Can you see it topped with yellow tassels?

Pollen falls from the tassel to the silk

Pollen falls from the tassel to the silk

Each silk is a link to a kernel of corn.  The silks catch the pollen from the tassels.

Each silk is a link to a kernel of corn.

If Mother Nature cooperates by sending a little sunshine and heat our way, we should have delicious sweet corn in a few weeks. (Thank you to Monsanto for the sweet corn seed.  All pictures and opinions are my own.)

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2 responses to “Field Report from Rural Route 2

  1. We’ve plant GM sweet corn the last two years and love that we can spray the same as our field corn. I took some in to sell at the little local farmer’s market two weekends this summer. I armed myself with respectful and informative answers to anyone who might question what I was selling, but I didn’t have a single question about GMOs. They just wanted fresh, delicious sweet corn!

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