Rachel's Table

How to Plant Local Corn

Last Friday I was pleased to hear John on my voice mail. Was I interested in helping him plant the last of the corn? Does he even have to ask? I was thrilled to help! I rushed home to change into appropriate farmer gear. (No, not overalls, but I’m considering purchasing a pair. Too bad I didn’t keep my “grunge” ones from the 90s. I was so cool.) After grabbing my compost bucket, I headed to John’s house. Yes, you read that right. I now have a compost bucket. I throw all of my food waste into said bucket, things like egg shells and carrot peels, and bring it to John’s house for his compost pile. I feel like I’m part of the circle of life or something!

After emptying the bucket into the compost pile, John and I took a look at the blue bird house. Two birds, male and female, have been in residence because inside was a beautifully- made nest with two perfectly dainty pale blue eggs side by side. John loves when the blue birds are around. He knows their song.

Lovely little nest

We planted the corn not too far from the nest’s cozy home. First, John made a furrow.

Neat and tidy furrow for corn

I thought we would plant the seeds now, but not so fast. In went some soybean meal to add nitrogen to the soil.

Soybean meal, a natural fertilizer for nitrogen loving plants, like corn

Scattering soybean meal in the corn furrow

So now it’s time for the seeds, right? Not quite yet. We all know that John is proud of his compost. He should be!  He works hard for it. I filled the furrow completely with compost.

Compost in

Now it’s time for seeds! Well almost. . .Before the seeds went in, John showed me how to spread the dirt from one side of the furrow over the compost, using a rake.

Compost cover-up

With that done, NOW it’s time for seeds! Silver King seeds to be exact. I placed the seeds about eight inches apart. Unfortunately the pictures of the seeds I took were lost in translation; I think the sun was too bright.  Just imagine large corn kernels nestled on top of dirt. With the seeds sown, I carefully raked the rest of the dirt over the seeds and tamped down a bit.

Covering the seeds with a blanket made of dirt

And now we water and wait. It’ll be exciting to see a six-feet tall corn stalk standing in the row I planted. Come to think of it, in the fall my mom buys corn stalks from John to decorate her mailbox. I wonder if she’ll buy one of the stalks I planted?

I’m telling you, there’s nothing more relaxing than working in the garden on a glorious Spring day, especially with John for a teacher and blue birds to keep you company.

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