Last spring, we took a look at what it takes to get ground ready to plant corn and how corn is planted. I wanted to follow that same corn field the whole summer – from planting to harvest – but we had a bit of a problem with drought and the corn didn’t do very well around here.
This year, we had a very wet spring here in southwestern Indiana. Planting got a little bit of a late start, but seemed to finish in record time. We have continued to have good amounts of rain near where we live (although other parts of Indiana are starting to get a little too dry again). The corn crop is certainly off to a much different start this year than we saw last year!
This is a corn field, just up the road from my house. These corn stalks are taller than me – about 7 feet tall or so.
The corn stalks look great – nice broad, deep green leaves, and most stalks have two ears of corn growing.
The root systems of corn plants are very complex. There is a complicated system of roots underground. Corn plants also have additional “root shoots” (part of the nodal root system, or “brace roots”) that start above ground and dive underground to help the corn plant get even more water and nutrients from the soil.
These ears of corn aren’t quite ready yet, but they sure are growing fast! The ears are longer than my hand. They won’t grow any longer, but the individual kernels will continue to develop and grow bigger. The entire ear will get even fatter as the kernels develop.
Here are a few of the undeveloped kernels at the top of the ear. Last year, with the drought, a lot of corn got to this stage but the kernels never finished developing.
We got over an inch of rain last night, so things are still looking good for this year’s corn crop!