Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Finally Planting Corn

There are many Best-If-Planted-By dates tossed around when farmers discuss planting corn. A lot depends on your location and what type of corn seed you're planting.

But most will agree that in our area, any corn seed planted past June 15 is wasted time and money. The pressure has been on for us, and we just keep getting rain.

Yesterday the ground was "close enough" to dry. We worked it once more (it used to be a hayfield and needed lots of working to break up all that grass). And then we pronounced it "good enough" to seed. Are you getting the picture? We could hold out for perfect conditions if we didn't have the calendar sounding its alarm.

Speaking of alarm, we were not happy to find that our seed dealer (finding the seed corn supply levels low due to last year's bad weather low germination rates) replaced part of our order with seed that wasn't what we'd ordered.

We use a corn planter with plates in it. Like the walk-behind garden seed planter favored by serious gardeners, the individual plates are interchangable. Planting radishes? Use the radish plate. Planting green beans? Use the green bean plate. These plates allow the right amount of seed to be planted evenly.

The corn plates we use are designed to work with certain sizes and shapes of corn seed. Some farmers have planters that don't even use the plates--so it matters less to them what size/shape the seed is.


On the left is a rounder seed corn, and on the right is seed corn called flats. You can buy both round and flat seed that has been graded. But in this case, the ones on the right were not graded--not measured for uniformity on all sides, so as to go through the plated planters perfectly.


Hopefully we have plates that match the seed.


Looks like it--but we'll know for sure when the corn comes up. Or not.


Everything goes faster with two sets of hands. Both of the kids still at home have been tremendously helpful in their spare time. We kind of hate to see them grow up and move on. =(


The two large rectangular hoppers in the front hold fertilizer. Nature Safe 13-0-0. The four smaller cylindrical hoppers hold the corn seed.


Here's the former hay field being planted to corn, four rows at a time. The sod lumps on top should dry out (hopefully) and die down eventually, as we cultivate the field.


We have another field that needs more work before it can be planted. But (surprise!) it's too wet, and they predict up to 3" of rain today. We may have to have some fallow ground this year. Not what we would have chosen. But then, if farming were easy, everyone would want to do it.

1 comment:

  1. I hope you get a better harvest than you expect given the rough start to the season. I'm excited that my corn is up 2" now, after being planted a week and a half ago. All that rain helped; now we need some warmth. And a fence around the bed, since we've got a plague of rabbits. . . .

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