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31 Days of Corn

I feel like I start out every single blog post by saying that I’ve been failing at blogging. And here we are again. It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve sat down and updated you on anything. I just have a few too many irons in the social media fire. I’m one of those people who thinks she needs to do it all: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, WordPress, Snapchat… You name it, I’m on it. And since words aren’t my strong suit, the blog has taken a bit of a back seat. But I’ve been working really hard on perfecting my photography skills, so I thought I’d jump back on here and share my latest project: corn.

That’s right. I’ve been spending the last month photographing corn. Exciting stuff happening around here, huh!?

Maybe I’m just a bit of a farm nerd, but I’ve actually found it really exciting.

Here we are in good ol’ Bureau County, right smack dab in the middle of the corn belt, and yet many people right in my hometown don’t know a whole lot about corn. And by many people, I mean me too! Sitting here in my living room, I can look out a window in any direction and see a corn field. (That’s not a lie, either. I even second guessed myself and took a quick peek. I’m literally surrounded by corn on all four sides!)

But even growing up in corn country, I just never took the time to really learn about it. How it grows, why we use fertilizer and pesticides, how tall it gets- these are all little facts I’ve simply ignored. And since I’m a sucker for a good photo and a nerdy fact, I made it my goal to document the corn through the whole growing season, from seed to harvest.

I’m a month into the project, and I thought I’d pause with the Instagramming to share the photos with you too! Each photo is accompanied by a fun little fact. And don’t be fooled, I’m not an expert. William has been an excellent teacher, and I’m learning more and more about corn every day!

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Day 1: It’s time to put those little pink seeds in the ground! The pink coating on this kernel is a treatment to help protect the seed while it germinates in the ground. Seed treatments are just one of the tools farmers use to ensure they grow a safe, bountiful crop! The corn will reach maturity at 113 days, then will start to dry down and we will harvest it.

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Day 9: It’s been a little over a week, and the little corn plants are starting to pop up through the soil. The corn is at the VE (or vegetative emergence) growth stage. Each plant stands about 1-2 inches tall at this stage.

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Day 13: I had some of my best sidekicks helping me scout corn today. The corn is at the V1 stage now, and is about 3 inches tall. The plants sure loved the good drink of water they got from last weekend’s storms. I’d say they are growing like weeds, but did you know corn is actually a grass?

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Day 17: Grow, baby corns, grow!! It’s been just under 2 1/2 weeks since William planted the corn, and it’s now at the V2 stage of growth. What are these V stages I keep talking about? For us non-grain-farming- folk, that’s basically just a fancy way of counting the collared leaves. If you look closely, you’ll notice the middle two leaves have a little bend right at the base. This is called the collar. So since this plant has 2 collars, we can say it’s at the V2 stage of growth! The corn stands about 5-6 inches tall at this stage.
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Day 24: The corn plants are growing like crazy! They’re about 10 inches tall, and at stage V3. We’ve had a decent amount of rain lately and we’ve got some hot days ahead. I have no doubt the plants will be knee high by the 4th of July.
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Here’s a closeup view of those leaf collars I was telling you about. (The bendy part at the base of the leaf!) We count the leaf collars to determine what stage of growth the corn is at. On Day 24 this plant had three leaf collars so it was at the V3 stage of growth.
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Day 30: The baby corn plants aren’t exactly babies any more! As I walked through the field, most of the plants were already as tall as my knees. (William promised me he would start letting me take his picture standing in the field for reference. Stay tuned.) It’s getting harder to tell but the plants are now at the V4 stage. Oh, and see all the grass in there? We don’t want those pesky weeds to take up the corn’s space or nutrients, so William will spray an herbicide on them to kill them. It’s kind of like weeding your garden, only on a much larger scale.
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Remember that little pink seed we started with just 31 days ago? If you look in the very center of this plant’s root system, you can still see the hull (or outer shell) of the corn kernel. It’s hard to believe that tiny little seed that was only about the size of my fingernail is now a plant that stands over a foot tall!
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And because there’s an artist hidden deep down inside of me, I just had to share one of my favorite corn photos so far. I was trying to take a picture of the leaves, but I ended up with a Georgia O’Keefe painting instead. O’Keefe was known for creating vibrant, close-up paintings of flowers. Much like this photo, O’Keefe’s paintings took natural, organic subjects and cropped them to give them an abstract look.

Whew! 31 days of corn summed up into one quick post! Did you learn something new? Let me know in the comments and be sure to keep following along for more corny updates. I will be sure to update the blog each month, or you can check out my posts on Instagram or Facebook.

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