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The First Seeds

We grow about 30 acres of sweet corn, in 1-2 acre blocks, so that as we finish picking one block, the next block is ripe and ready to pick.  The goal is to have a consistent sweet corn supply from about mid July until the end of September.  This means that James tries to plant “on germination” if the weather allows.  We plant about the first 5 acres of sweet corn under biodegradable plastic, which allows us to plant in cooler April soil.  We also cover some with a row cover to help it grow a little faster than what is not under row cover.

 As soon as April hits and the weather warms, the itch to get planting sweet corn strikes!  James went back out to work after supper (as he often does) the other night and told me he was going to dig some trenches to get water moving out of one of our fields.  I knew this meant he was on the hunt for dry ground.  When we looked at the forecast on Monday, he thought he’d plan to plant the first sweet corn sometime next week, as it showed sun several days in a row.  However, yesterday morning, we looked again, and the forecast had completely changed to rain almost every day next week.  He tried working up about an acre and decided it was ready.  Thus began our 2024 planting season.  Texts were sent to our sons (they were at school) to make sure they were available to help plant that evening.  Thumbs up all around 😊 One of them excitedly said “Heck ya”, lol.  They love helping to plant corn!

The energy was palpable the rest of the day as James worked toward getting the ground ready.  Logan (our son) fixed our disc (an implement pulled by our tractor that breaks up the soil and creates a good seed bed) when he got home from school so he could work the ground again one more time before planting.  I made sure supper was made at the right time so it didn’t interfere with the flow of work.  James literally couldn’t wipe the little smile off his face.  Even after 20 + years of growing sweet corn, and a lifetime of farming he still gets excited about the first seeds going in the ground.

Planting went smoothly.  The soil had just the right amount of moisture so that it closed up around the seeds as they went in the ground.  James drove the tractor.  Logan rode on the corn planter to make sure seeds were going in consistently.  Cameron and Jeremiah (our neighbour) stood at either end of the field and held the plastic in place when James started another row, and then shoveled dirt on top of the plastic to hold it in place. These first few acres of sweet corn take an incredible amount of time, effort and attention to detail to get into the ground, compared to when we plant on bare soil. It’s a team effort to get those little seeds from the package into the soil in the optimum way to give them the very best chance of growing to their full potential. 

Likewise, it will be a team effort in early to mid July to harvest the mature cobs of sweet corn and transport it to the market for our customers.  Stay tuned.