Hello folks! Early Thursday morning we had a storm pass through. Very strong winds and heavy rain. I got out of bed and looked out the back door and the first thing on my mind was the sweet corn. I knew it would blow over and was dreading having a look when I went outside in the morning. It happens every year, sometimes more than once. Earlier, when it was just 1-3 feet tall, it blew over and stood back up just fine. I always hill the corn, and usually the beans, which does help a little, but when you have a down pour even the soil you hill up can flatten out.
Early in the evening I went out to straighten it back up. To my amazement, as usual if I am patient, most of the corn had stood back up on it’s own. That was a good thing, because the soil was still pretty wet so I left it alone. No use wading around in the mud.
The term for blown over corn is “lodging”. Sounds kind of strange, though. The Webster’s Dictionary describes lodging as a place to live, dwelling, lodgment. Sleeping accommodations found lodging in the barn. A temporary place to stay, a lodging for the night; a room in the house of another used as a residence, usually used in plural.
Dictionary.com says: 1) accommodation in a house, especially in rooms for rent: to furnish board and lodging. 2) a temporary place to stay; temporary quarters, etc.
Does that have anything to do with blown over corn? Well, the term “lodging” as far as plants and agriculture are concerned is totally different. The bending of the stalk of a plant is called “stalk lodging” and when it has to do with the entire plant it is called “root lodging”.
Stalk lodging is cased by a large load of lush growth on the lower part of the stalk. It could be caused by overgrowth, to much water or to much shade.
Root lodging is where the entire plant falls over, roots and all. SO, during a storm, when the soil, especially loose soil, gets very wet it is very easy for wind to blow plants over. Hilling up the soil around the plants is very helpful, but during a downpour even that soil can be washed away. I staked almost EVERY plant in Mississippi and I am not exaggerating. I would tie strings around plants, kind of like their own cage. If you go through many of the plant pages to the right, when I get them all finished, you will see a lot of stakes. Even if the plants are 1-2 feet tall.
Fields of corn, wheat, rice, and other cereal grains are especially susceptible because the as the wind blows the plants fall like dominos. I saw this a lot in the rice fields in Mississippi. I guess you can call me a “staker” instead of a stalker.
Corn can stand back up on it’s own, although maybe not completely. Attempts to stand it back can eat to stalk breakage. If you leave it alone the corn stalks will curve upward. Every year I know sooner or later we will have wind and the sweet corn will blow over. I always hill my corn up after it gets over a foot tall or so. It does help for a while, but once the corn gets fairly tall it will inevitable blow over. I always go out and stand it back up, and yes, some of the stalks break off. Dragging wet soil up against the corn can be frustrating when it is almost as tall or even taller than me. If the soil is still very wet the weight of the corn will sometimes cause it to fall right back over.
There are a few things I have come to know will happen. One is the wind blowing over the corn and the other is it raining after I plant carrot seeds. The third is having to replant seeds where the seeder missed. Of course, grass, weeds and pests as usual, too. These are the things that a gardener has to deal with that we just get used to. There are ways to prevent some problems and also cures. Planting by hand instead of using a seeder keeps the seeder from missing (or getting a better seeder). Growing earlier, shorter cultivars of sweet corn can reduce the problem of “lodging”. Planting carrots earlier and placing boards, newspapers or a thin layer of mulch over the rows keeps the carrot seeds from washing away or being covered to deep. Mulching can reduce the amount of grass and weeds to pull. Companion planting can reduce some insect problems and also attract beneficial insects to patrol thew garden.
As far as how corn stands back up on it’s own goes… I have no clue. Maybe I should set up a video camera to record it all day then play it on fast forward later. Maybe there are elves or fairies that stand it back up.
Well, I need to end this post and prepare for the next one. I have SO many pages to finish, too. I have started saving them as “drafts” now (over 200 already) besides the ones with the “*” which means the page is still under construction.
SO, for now, take care, enjoy life to the fullest, be happy, healthy, prosperous and… GET DIRTY!