Strawberry Hill Farm / Blog / Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn

Posted on by Tim Livingstone

The time has come for sweet corn!  The warm weather has meant that the sweet corn has done well this year. Unfortunately so have the worms...  We are checking all the ears ahead of putting them into the boxes so that hopefully you will not find any in the corn.  Organic treatments for the corn ear worm are very limited.  We have tried a new approach on next week's batch of corn and hope it will be better.

The ears coming this first week are larger than they might at first appear and have lots of delicious sweet kernels.  We expect to have the bi-color corn for next week's boxes.

I have to go Truro, NS tomorrow to meet Minister Jerry Ritz, the federal agriculture minister and say a few words on behalf of the organic farmers, producers, processors, and retailers in Canada.  I'm leaving box packing in good hands with Nollie, but it does take considerable effort to be gone even just one day in the busy summer season.

I took this photo to show how effective flame weeding can be if we get the timing right.  There is a row of newly germinated carrots across the center of this picture.  These are our snack carrots for winter.  A few days after seeding and the night before the carrots came up, I ran a torch flame over the row to burn the weeds.  As you can see, the carrots came up the next day and there are no weeds in the row.  The weeds to the top and bottom of the picture are far enough away from the carrot seedlings that we can easily cultivate them out with a wheel hoe.  There is a lot about organic farming that requires knowledge and skill and we pay for it dearly on our hands and knees if we get it wrong....

As I'm sure many of you know, Monarch butterflies are very special.  They overwinter in Mexico and then over several generations work their way up the continent until fall when about four generations later they return to the place of their ancestors in the Mexican forest.  Unfortunately their numbers have declined rapidly in the last few years to where they have almost been wiped out.  It is believed that this is largely due to the loss of their primary food which is the milkweed. This plant is a considered weed in most fields and is routinely killed with pesticides.  We do not use pesticides to kill weeds and when we are hand weeding, if we find evidence of the butterfly or it's larva, we make sure to leave them plenty for them to eat.

When we weeded our sweet potatoes we looked for the young caterpillars and did find a couple.  Later I was excited to see this butterfly which certainly looks like a monarch to me but I've sent the picture off to see if someone can confirm it.  Perhaps the numbers of Monarchs will bounce back if we all do our part.


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