The weather has been so cold this spring that we have not been able to start the seeding as soon as we wanted to. We like to have corn seed in the ground by the 1st of April, but this year it has continued to snow or rain almost every day, and it has been so cold. We knew if we seeded the corn with the ground this wet and the weather so cold, the corn would not come up but just melt away in the wet dirt. So when we had success sprouting the corn we were so excited.Ken placed a small amount of seed in a jar, stretched a piece of old nylon on the top of the jar, put on a rubber band around the rim, and cut away the extra nylon fabric. This is what we use for our sprouting jar. He fills it with some water and leaves it draining upside down in a bowl under the lights in the warm seeding room. In just 36 hours the corn seed was sprouted and ready to plant.
We use treated seed for the first crops to prevent bugs from eating the seed or drilling holes through it and ruining the seed. The sprouted seed had a great germination rate, almost every seed had a sprout on it. We headed out to the garden to try it in the planter. Just like he did with the beet seed, he poured the sprouted seed into a bucket that hung off of his belt loop. He gently rolled the seed through his hand and dropped 2 or 3 seed into the top of the planter, alternating back and forth down the row.
And then we held our breath to see if the corn would come up or if the sprouts would of broken off in the handling, the drop through the planter or the firming in when it is pressed into the soil. This would help us out so much if it worked, because we usually have so much loss with the early seeding and have to replant many times to get a decent crop. After he seeded the patch we covered the whole area with a large sheet of clear plastic. This was to raise the soil temperature and also keep any more moisture off of the seeds. We were glad we thought of that because it just kept on raining and snowing.
The plastic sheeting is held down with sand bags. It lays flat on the ground. Ken checked it after a few days to see if the corn was coming up. It did! It took about a week, just like it does in the hot weather. We left the plastic on for a few more days, making sure that if the sun did come out we rolled it right off. On a sunny day, it will cook your new seedlings and kill them. The corn came up in almost every hole. We are so excited that it worked. Look what else came? Along with every corn plant came 5 weeds.
After the corn was up a bit, we moved the plastic sheeting to the next seeding and covered each row with the plastic tunnels, perforated plastic resting on a wire hoop pushed in the ground every 6 feet. We stretch the perforated plastic over the hoops and secure the ends with a bag filled with sand. The sides are secured by shoveling dirt all along both edges. This makes a nice, warm environment for the corn to grow in for the next month. The corn will stay in these tunnels until it pushes out the top.