Saturday, January 16, 2010

Week of January 4, 2010 : Seeds

(Here is a file photo of Xtra Tender 277A. To a grower, the name 277 makes perfect sense. The "2" indicates Bi-Color and "77" indicates a relative maturity of 77 days. The name clearly answers the questions "What am I growing?" and "How long will it take?" Although I will admit a name like "Honey and Cream" has more market appeal).

The first seed purchase for the upcoming market season is complete! Sweet corn!

In my youth, my parents would purchase sweet corn from various road side stands and excitedly discuss the nuances of tenderness, sweetness and flavor. I could not detect these nuances so I could not share the excitement; my conclusion was simply it is better than city chicken.

Now I can detect these nuances, and I can share the excitement. But even more exciting, though, is accepting and answering the challenge to be the grower.

I want to be the person who grows the sweet corn that is the single purpose for driving out to the market!

The first step, last step and every step in between is researching, learning and honing my growing skills. It actually is quite a challenge both mental and physical to grow a premium crop on any scale.

There are so many natural challenges such as weather and wildlife; think about it , if corn is tasty to you, it is also tasty to deer and racoons. Most people do not know that the corn stalks are as sweet as the kernels.

And those insidious corn borers and ear worms.

And there are plenty of challenges even after the perfect ear has been harvested; this is a competitive market segment.

Defeating the challenges while besting your competitors, all while satisfying organic growing practices? Yeah it gets hard.

But that gets us right back to where we started: I want to be the person who answers these challenges, I want to be the person who grows the good stuff.

The cycle continues with this seed purchase. This summer, parents will pack up their surly kids and drive to market, hopefully to buy my sweet corn.

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