June 17, 2010

Hello, Farm Friends,

Here’s an update from the farm.  We’ve been keeping busy!  Growing plants, hoeing weeds, big tractors in motion, people with hand trowels transplanting vegetables, Daddy and his crew of 9 transplanting tobacco with the planter, Parker working on the GAP (Good Ag. Practices) requirements, irrigating, etc.  Jesse is at the Co-op now getting the tractor tire repaired.  Mama is coordinating – Ground Control, literally.  Frank is everywhere.  And in case you hadn’t noticed, it’s hot!  We got a little rain Tuesday and a sprinkle yesterday.  We could have used more, but we’re glad we didn’t get a flood.  The clouds and the breeze were appreciated; today there are neither.

Things are growing rapidly (especially the weeds) and are standing the heat better than I had anticipated.  Little zucchini and crookneck squash are appearing.  There are some small eggplants and tiny bell peppers.  Bell peppers will be scarce for a while, due to critter predation of our plants, but the sweet banana peppers are coming along well.  And there are already enough jalapenos to heat up the world.  We have several varieties of greens, which I hope will hold through the heat.  The broccoli and cauliflower didn’t survive this 90+degree week- sorry.  The honeybees don’t work well above 90 degrees, either.  We depend on them almost entirely to pollinate the squash and melons.  The corn (my favorite food on the planet) is beautiful.  The beans are reaching for their trellises, which aren’t in place yet.  That’s on the list for tomorrow, along with staking, stringing and suckering tomatoes.  I can’t wait for that first tomato!  I found two cucumbers yesterday and actually shared one of them.   

*** (That means, “News Flash!”)  We hope to start farm box deliveries to our CSA members next week.  Keep checking our website and Facebook- Dennison’s Family Farm CSA.  I can update FB much quicker than the website, where I have to go through our webmaster, so Facebook is usually the latest word.  Sometimes things change rapidly on the farm.

Education has always been a big part of our farm, so here’s your lesson for today- Corn 101.  If you’re an expert on corn, I’m sure you can give me some advice.  Always welcome.

It’s sweet corn time! Not time to eat it, but time for the plant (zea mays) to start producing its seeds, which are what we eat.  If you are fortunate enough to live near a cornfield, you have probably been amazed by how it has grown this year and how wonderful it smells at night. It has just begun to tassel; the tassel is an inflorescence of male flowers, which sticks out the top like a tiny yellow tree.  If you look closely, you can see the individual flowers, which produce the pollen.  This is then carried by the wind down to the silks, which stick out the end of the husks, which cover the ears. Each silk is attached to a grain of corn, and viable pollen must land on each silk to pollinate its grain.  It takes around two days for the ear to be fully pollinated, so if you see an ear of corn with shrunken grains or not completely filled out, you know that it was not properly pollinated.  The problem is that in Nature, nothing is as simple as it seems. Corn likes warm, humid weather, so it has been really happy this year, so far.  But too heavy a rain can wash away the pollen.  Also, at temperatures above 86 degrees the pollen fall slows; over 100 degrees, the pollen is killed.  So this next week or two, with its rain and heat will tell the story about whether these beautiful cornfields will actually produce usable ears of corn.  We’ll hope for the best, but one thing is for sure, you should never take an ear of corn for granted.

Your support and enthusiasm are what keep local farmers in business.


Wayve Dennison
cellular:  770-722-6348

Dennison's Family Farm CSA
98 Milner Switch Road
Elora, TN 37328

veggie line:  931-937-8162 (the latest word from Mama)
e-mail:  info@dennisonsfarm.com

Dennison's Family Farm | (931) 937-8162 | 98 Milner Switch Rd | Elora, TN 37328 | info@dennisonsfarm.com

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