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Lend your ear as we talk about corn
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THE STROLLER

Lend your ear as we talk about corn

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TODAY’S WORD is chlorosis. Example: On, no, the tomato plants are undergoing chlorosis, which means we probably won’t get very good tomatoes this year.

THURSDAY’S WORD was heavy soil. Heavy soils contain more clay and are hard to work. Example: When Janice and Fred moved to North Carolina, they were disappointed in and frustrated with the heavy soil, which was in sharp contrast to the wonderful rich dirt of their old farm in Patrick County.

Corn stalking

Although homegrown corn rewards well, it’s a greedy creature and needs to be spoiled.

Corn seed needs a warm soil temperature to germinate, so planting a week or two after last frost is a good idea — and by now, definitely, of course. If you want to get an early start next year, you can warm the soil by covering it with a black plastic cover that has holes punched in it to allow the organisms that live in the soil to breathe.

Corn needs a lot of water and fertilizer in order to grow tall and strong enough to produce the full ears of corn we’re used to.

The tiny, shriveled-up kernels you sometimes see are those that have not been pollinated. Corn plants need to be grouped at least four across and deep to have suitable pollination (which is by wind and gravity), and if it’s skimpier than that, you’ll have to help out nature by collecting the pollen that falls from the tassels at the very top of a plant — let it shake into an envelop or little bowl — and then sprinkle it over the cornsilks of neighboring plants below.

To keep corn (and other vegetables) producing throughout the summer instead of just all at once, stagger their plantings every couple of weeks.

Happy Campers

The Bulletin is running a “Happy Camper” sweepstakes with a $500 prize. Visit the Bulletin’s website and enter “Happy Camper sweepstakes“ in the search bar to enter.

THURSDAY’S TRIVIA ANSWER: The U.S. Board on Geographic Names in its “Principles, Policies and Procedures” publication lists its home as being on Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston.

TODAY’S TRIVIA QUESTION: The Board on Geographic Names does not have any budget or staff. It relies on other federal agencies for staffing and meeting space. Its permanent members come from which federal agencies?

Reach The Stroller at 276-638-8801 ext. 243 and stroller@martinsvillebulletin.com.

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