Corn is many people’s favorite summer vegetable, eaten on the cob at summer picnics, as part of lobster bakes or on any ordinary evening for dinner.

I have grown corn semi-successfully in the past on occasion, but I have never figured out a way to keep raccoons from decimating the crop just before it reaches perfect ripeness. I guess it’s their favorite summer vegetable, too.

For those who have fenced in their garden or protect it with dogs or especially fierce cats, you can grow your own. Horticulturally, it is quite simple.

Use a hoe to create a trench that is about two inches deep, with the rows two to three feet apart. Plant the seeds four to six inches apart. I always put in two or three seeds at each spot and thin out the weaker stalks later.

Corn is a heavy feeder, so fertilize when planting and water deeply. Then fertilize every three weeks over the course of the season.

Corn can get ear worms or corn borers, which will get into the ears and eat some kernels. It is easy to break off part of that ear (or cut out the damaged section) and eat the rest, so when I used to plant corn, I never used pesticides.

Some people enjoy corn before it is fully ripe, others like the kernels large and a little starchy. We harvested ours when the corn silk was brown, about three weeks after the silk first appeared.

Depending on the variety you grow, the time to ripen will vary. To extend the corn season, plant several different varieties or plant the corn at different times during the season.

But as for my wife Nancy and me, this summer, we’ll get ours at the farm stand where we have our CSA.


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