Knee-high Never

Growing up in Wisconsin, I constantly heard the refrain that corn should be “knee-high by the Fourth of July.”  Well, in my garden, this year the corn is going to be knee-high never. It seems I had a complete crop failure. Or, perhaps more accurately, a germination failure. Corn is not something I plant every year; in fact, I haven’t planted it in the last five years, principally because it takes up so much room, and because freshly picked corn from the farm stand is easily available locally. But this year, I thought, what the hay, it would be nice to have several rows in the back of the new vegetable garden. So I ordered a sugar enhanced variety called ‘’Trinity,’ and planted it. Well, I forgot one crucial factor in ordering corn: always get treated seed. I know, some people don’t like to use seed treated with fungicide, but in my part of the world, our weather is often insufficiently warm to insure decent germination – the soil must be at 70º or better for corn to sprout. If not, untreated seed quickly rots in the ground. And sure enough, this spring has been cold and damp, and only one or two miserable looking seedlings have appeared in the entirety of four 10’ rows.


Ah well, looks like the local farmers market is guaranteed my patronage again this year…


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