” The man who grows sweet corn for market, usually appreciates the possibilities of a continuous crop fresh from the field from early July to October,” says Prof. V. H. Davis of Franklin county, “Ohio. ” I have grown this crop for home use and in a small way for local markets for years, and the methods employed may be suggestive, and, perhaps, profitably followed by others.
” While sweet corn will grow well on almost any type of soil containing a fair amount of fertility, I prefer some elevation and a southern exposure, with soil somewhat sandy or slightly gravelly for the first crop. Such a soil will dry out and warm up early, and can be broken and thoroughly prepared before planting time.
” I usually make the first planting of Early Cory during the first warm spell after the middle of April, and use plenty of seed. If the crop escapes the late frosts, I will secure corn for home use or for market from ten days to two weeks earlier than my neighbors. If the frost catches it I have lost only a little seed and some labor. The patch is immediately replanted and I still have corn as early as my neighbors, and usually before. A liberal application of a complete fertilizer on rather thin land, high in nitrogen in some quickly available form, will usually give good returns in size, quality, and earliness of ears.
” On good soil an application of nitrate of soda along the rows and worked into the soil just after the corn is well up has given better and larger ears from four days to a week earlier than was secured without its use. With this first planting I usually plant pumpkins, which generally prove decidedly profitable in themselves. All early sorts can be planted close together. I prefer rows about 30 inches apart and two or three stalks in hills from 18 to 24 inches apart in the rows. The later sorts are planted the usual distance.
“About May a planting of Country Gentle-man, Stowell’s Evergreen, or Columbus Market is made, and at intervals of about ten days two or three more plantings are made. The last planting usually follows early potatoes, and should be made by July 2o. For this crop I plant Early Cory, or some of the early sorts. If early frosts do not come this crop will be ready for use during the latter half of September or the first part of October, and not only finds a welcome on the home table, but a ready sale upon the market. A few years ago I sold nearly $40 worth in October. We find a ready sale for the early and the late crops in small towns of 1,000 to 5,000 inhabitants, but for the main crop the larger cities must be looked to for a market. If the stover is cut as soon as the corn is pulled it makes a splendid feed for all kinds of farm stock. In this vicinity the very early and very late crops usually bring from io to 15 cents a dozen ; the larger markets from 15 to 25 cents.”
” I have been, interested in growing sweet corn for the past six years,” writes D. L. Collins of Genesee county, New York. ” Evergreen and early Minneapolis have been satisfactory varieties. All early maturing varieties do well here. My family prefer Metropolitan for table use to any other. My soil is of a sandy loam and we grow for home use only. We usually plant corn on the same land two years in succession. Our garden plot is prepared after the usual manner, but stable manure is kept 12 to 18 months in a sort of compost heap until thoroughly rotted before putting upon the garden.”
” For nine years,” writes John H. Taylor of Middlesex county, New Jersey, ” we have averaged 5,000 ears of sweet corn and sold the crop for $1 a hundred. Each year we plant from one to four acres, and have found that Cosmopolitan for early and Stowell’s Evergreen or Burpee’s White Evergreen for late give the best results. Generally the crop is shipped in barrels, sometimes to New York, but usually to our local market, where the sale is, as a rule, satisfactory. What few culls we have are fed to pigs, and the stover to cattle.
“The soil is a sandy loam. No special crop rotation is practiced, although the same land is not cropped with corn oftener than once in four years. Being a truck farm, it is inconvenient to practice ordinary crop rotation. About 36o pounds to the acre of 3-6-8 commercial fertilizer is used. This costs $31 a ton. It is applied 2 to 4 inches from the hill at planting time, or immediately after.
” Early in April the land is plowed, and until the seed is sown, is harrowed to get it in fine condition. As soon as the season will permit, we plant by hand in check rows 3 feet or 3 feet to inches apart. Usually the latter distance is the more profitable. Four or five days after planting, a weeder is run through the field, and as soon as we can see the rows a one-horse cultivator is started. At the third cultivation a two-horse riding cultivator is employed as long as we can get over the corn.
” Sometimes we use nitrate of soda as a top-dressing during the latter part of summer, so as to force the plants a little. About a tablespoonful is applied a few inches from the hill and then cultivated in.”
CORN AFTER STRAWBERRIES
In the fruit section of Atlantic county, New Jersey, corn is not a popular crop. The soil is sand or gravel, somewhat leachy and often dry. Corn requires an abundance of plant food and moisture, and on these light soils is very exhausting. J. E. Homa, however, has given much attention to growing corn, and each year puts in six or seven acres. His corn land is low and has plenty of moisture; it is rotated in grass, strawberries, and corn, grass, like corn, being an unusual crop in his locality.
Strawberries are picked two years. The beds are fertilized with 600 or 700 pounds of fertilizer each year, applied early in the spring. The two year old beds are not cultivated in the spring, and the entire surface becomes covered with a sod of grass and strawberry plants. After picking, usually about June 15, the land is plowed about 6 inches deep, broadcasted with 700 pounds of fertilizer, costing about $28 a ton, harrowed until fine and marked out in rows about 4 feet apart each way. The land is not furrowed out for planting, but a man makes a little hole with a spade, drops the grain in it and covers it with the foot, doing all the work quickly and at one operation.
” The field is then repeatedly worked with a weeder until the corn is several inches high and then cultivated every week or ten days as long as a horse can get through. Generally, it is hoed once, but with a careful man to cultivate little hoeing is needed. The variety is a hybrid of yellow dent of local selection, maturing in about 110 days.”
This practice will furnish a valuable hint for raisers of sweet corn. Such quick-growing varieties as the Corys and the Crosbys should prove very profitable where there is a good market, and even some of the slower growing sorts, such as Country Gentleman, should be made to pay where the seasons are not too short.
Concerning popcorn, C. J. Richardson of Lake county, Ohio, writes : ” I do not know of any farm crop that is as constant and steady in demand as popcorn. The price has remained about the same one year with another for the past 15 years. I have averaged about a ton of popcorn each year, and have no difficulty in selling it at a good round figure. Our soil seems to be well adapted to this crop. We plant as early as possible, on ground on which we have grown Hubbard squashes the year previous.
” We cultivate regularly so as to keep the corn free from weeds. We use a hoe very little. We usually plant by hand, using a hoe, dropping three grains in a hill, 3 feet apart, rows running both ways. We get the best results this way. We never cut until the corn is thoroughly ripe. Pop-corn stalks make an extra fine fodder. Farmers in planting popcorn should be sure to let it mature on the stalk before it is cut or husked. We husk it about six weeks after it is cut and put it in cribs especially prepared for it, and it is left in these cribs a year before it is sold.
“To sell to advantage in large quantities one must be very careful, as there are many sharks in the field, who will take advantage of one if he is not on the lookout. If popcorn is sold at retail, one must be careful that it is well cured and pops regularly, otherwise there will be great difficulty in selling to the same individual the second time. I usually test thoroughly by popping some, and then know exactly in what condition it is. We give good, round weight or measure, and are careful not to misrepresent our corn. In this way our trade is being built up regularly.”
Corn salad is a small plant, the seed of which is sown in fall and covered with straw during winter like spinach for spring use. It may be used in the autumn or in spring, as desired, as a salad or as greens. Usually it is broadcasted in beds of rich soil and given an occasional top dressing of nitrate of soda. It is scarcely a rival of spinach, because it does not grow so large and is not quite so fine flavored.