by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 7, 2015)
I remember spending sultry, lazy summer evenings in the country at my uncle's farm. While my cousins, siblings, and I alternated clambering for the tree swing, and running barefoot through the cooling grass, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and my aunt and uncle prepared for the nightly patio dinner. Nearing dusk, the crackling kindling in the open concrete block grill signaled to me that soon we would roast marshmallows on green sticks over the orange-glowing embers. Brats and metts sizzled side-by-side on an old oven rack atop the concrete blocks, whining to escape their casements. But the searing aroma of succulent sweet corn roasting within their blackened husks made my stomach howl with hunger, and my saliva swirl for the anticipation of the first crispy bite.
Corn, also known as maize, is the largest crop grown in the Americas. Corn is used in the production of livestock feed, animal and pet food, cereals, sweeteners, fabrics, plastics, whiskey and alcoholic beverages, and fuels. Many people grow corn in their gardens for their own consumption, since corn can be canned, frozen, or otherwise preserved for use as food storage. It is fairly simple to grow corn, and you can follow these guidelines to grow your own and enjoy it while it is fresh from the field:
Water your corn patch at least once a week, taking care not to wash away the young plants. Do not over water, as doing so can cause root rot. Make sure to weed your corn often, and protect it from rodents and pests. Corn will grow to mature ears anywhere from sixty to ninety days after seeding. Harvest your corn when the silks are dry and brown, and the husks are dark green. Usually, ears are ready for harvest about twenty days after the silks first appear.
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