So back to my diatribe about corn. As I said, we consider genetics, that is varieties, to be one major reason why our corn is so good. But there are many other reasons also. One of those reasons is about worms. You don’t want worms in your corn! We don’t either. But unfortunately the moths are always there ready to lay eggs, which become worms. Non-organic farmers just spray the hell out of the corn every week or maybe twice a week. But we are certified organic so we have to find other means to prevent worms.
Those means are biological. One of the most important ones is a beneficial insect which we can purchase as eggs. We place these eggs out in the cornfield every week of the season (16 weeks) and when the eggs hatch a tiny wasp emerges and immediately seeks out the eggs of the target pest (European Corn Borer) and destroys them. This process requires management and some expense but it is effective, and eliminates the need for pesticides.
The second major kind of worm is the one you sometimes (not often!) find at the tip of the ear. That’s called Corn Earworm. It’s a little bit harder to control but we have a method that is about 90% effective. What we do is walk through the field with a little squirt gun and put a drop of corn oil on the silk of every ear at just the right time. This keeps the moth from laying its eggs in the tip of the ear.
Now if you are unlucky enough to find the one ear in maybe 10 that has a worm, do not be upset! This worm only bothers the tip of the ear. It’s ugly, but it doesn’t affect the quality of the corn at all – – only the tip.
So that’s the story of how we keep your organic corn free of worms. Tune in next week for more fascinating facts about how we grow corn organically.
See you Saturday.