Friday, June 7, 2013

This is my first day of retirement. 

Writing a blog is one of the items on my bucket list.  Like many, I see blog writing as a way of keeping family posted on the minutia of my life.  Writing can be therapeutic as long as I am mindful of my audience.  My final reason for authoring a blog is the hope that I may bring a little joy to those who cannot get outside and must experience the God's nature vicariously.

I sought advice from one of the wisest bloggers I know  His words of wisdom were:

"Write every day, something that amuses you, infuriates you, or something you wish to commemorate or remember.  I use the blog to remember recipes, to remember when I did something that I blogged about (Like installing a pool), or to pass information to the family.  The important thing is that you write every day if possible.  Don't worry about hits, don't worry about advertising, just be yourself and write about what interests you."



Spring 2013 whipped by in a blur of third-shift and caffeine induced dysoptics.  Rain and cold.  Cold and rain.

My field corn went in May 20ish.  This years seed were a natural hybrid between a mid-Western white corn called Silver Mine and a New Mexico corn called Santo Domingo Pueblo Blue.  Both of these corns were selected back in a time when corn was a staple of the growers diet.  In the case of Santo Domingo Blue it was the staple of the diet.

Around Eaton Rapids, Michigan, real corn farmers start planting before May 1 and try to finish before May 10.  They  plant seeds treated with fungicides to delay rotting.  They plant "100 day corn".  They plant commercial hybrids and are prevented by contract from saving their seed...which they would not do anyway because the progeny would not be uniform. 

Both parents of my hybrid are 115 day corn, and I planted late.  The upside is that I had no seeds rot because I had OK soil temperature and good moisture.  The seed germinated very well.  The downside is that I may not get good dry-down before I have to harvest.  The side note is that every plant will be unique, will grow very tall, and produce copious amounts of pollen that bees adore.  And some of those plants will mature significantly earlier than the others.  Next year's seed will come from those ears of corn.

 To the left of the rows of corn (pale, yellow-green) you can see some multiplier onions and a feral potato plant.  To the right there is a row of turnip greens that I am letting go to seed.  I would love to be able to claim that I am scientifically engaged in the advancement of Permaculture.  The fact is that I am overwhelmed and my management style is laissez fair.  Laissez fair, as best I can deduce from context, is French for "Fairly Lazy".

There are a total of 6 rows of corn on 36" centers.  The rows are about 100' long for a total of 1/20th of an acre.  

This is a close-up of one of the plants.  If you are a country boy (or girl) you can tell by the color that this corn plant is either Nitrogen starved, cold, or has wet feet....or some combination of all three.

One of the characteristics of heirloom corn is that it runs significantly higher protein than modern corn.  Nitrogen fertilizer is one of the highest input costs in growing corn.  It takes one pound of N to grow 100 pounds of 6% protein corn.  It takes two pounds of N to grow 100 pounds of 12% corn. 

Given God's grace, I will post again tomorrow.

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