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September 23, 2008     Cape Gazette
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September 23, 2008

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Garden & Farm Cape Gazette I TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 23 - THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2008 23 I Crop insurance deadline is Sept. 30 The new Farm Bill requires crop insurance on all acres of any insurable crop and/or enroll- ment in the Farm Service Agency's Noninsured Assistance Program on all acres of uninsur- able crops in order to be eligible for a new "whole farm" disaster program called Supplemental Revenue Assistance Program. Delaware producers must apply for crop insurance for their fall seeded wheat and barley before the sales closing deadline, Tues- day, Sept. 30, to be eligible for federal disaster aid in 2009. Most acreage of barley and wheat planted in Delaware is not currently covered by crop insur- ance. Farms on which uninsured small grains are grown will be in- eligible for the new Supplemen- tal Revenue Assistance Program (SURE) program. It is critical that farmers become informed about their small grain insurance options. The Delaware Department of Agriculture (DDA), in partner- ship with the U.S. Department of Agriculture Risk Management Agency is working to make sure producers make an informed de- cision regarding barley and wheat insurance. They can call the DDA Risk Management Info Line at 877-673-2767 for more de- tails and to receive a list of crop insurance agents. Details of the new SURE pro- gram, as included in the Farm Bill, are still being formulated. What is known at present is that farmers must have at least the catastrophic leve ! of coverage on all insurable crops and/or be en- rolled in the Farm Service Agency's Noninsured Assistance Program on all acres of uninsur- able crops in order to be eligible. Call Don Clifton on the DDA Crop Insurance Info Line, toll free, at 877-673-2767 for more in- formation. Late-season sweet corn has a riffler, richer flavor iUiards was once so popular that it gave us D : many words in use to- day. If you 'fiscue" you strike the ball improperly with the stick or "cue." Even the word "debut" originally meant to "start or begin" the game of billiards. But it's the billiard term "fluke" meaning a lucky chance, ich was originally a lucky t at billiards, that means a lot to the fall garden. It was after all, just such a fluke or lucky chance that gave us sweet corn. That's because all sweet corn is the result of a natural muta- tion. This mutation means that the sugar in sweet corn is con- verted to starch much slower than in regular corn. The Native Americans recognized this mu- tation and developed sweet corn. One of the earliest varieties of sweet corn, named "Papoon," was raised by the Iroquois in 1779. While many growers race to have corn as early in the sum- mer as possible, it is now, late in the summer, that the longer- growing and, to some, the best corn is ripe. Many of these are old-fashioned open pollinated corns, rather than hybrids. A good fall sweet corn is "Country Gentleman." It was in- troduced in 1890 by S. D. Woodruff & Sons of Orange, Conn. It was named for a famous 19th-century American agricul- tural magazine. This late-ripen- ing variety of corn has unusual kernels that are not in rows but are arranged in a zigzag or "shoepeg" pattern. Country Gentleman is excellent for mak- ing creamed corn. It is ready in 88-92 days from planting. Silver Queen is probably the most popular hybrid late white corn. For many it is the best of all eating varieties. Silver Queen ears are eight and a half inches long, with 14 to 16 rows of snow- white, sugary sweet, extremely tender kernels. It yields heavily on eight-foot-tall plants. Silver Queen holds well in the garden for several days. It can be picked in about 85 days. One thing to keep in mind with all sweet corn is that it comes in three basic types: nor-. mal sugary (SU), sugary en- hancer (SE) and supersweet (Sh2). Old-fashioned or standard sweet corn varieties contain a "sugary (SU) gene" that is re- sponsible for the sweetness and creamy texture of the kernels. Supersweet hybrids contain the shrunken Sh2 gene so they have higher sugar content than the standard SU varieties. Un- fortunately they don't have the creamy texture and "corny" fla- vor of regular sweet corn vari- eties. Also supersweet hybrids have to be isolated from other types of corn or they will cross- pollinate, with disastrous results. The third type of sweet corn is the sugary enhancer hybrids that contain the sugary enhancer gene that gives them much high- er sugar content than standard corn. And you don't have to iso- late them. Whichever you choose to grow for late corn the culture is pretty much the same. The soil must be above 55 F for standard sweet corn varieties and about 65 F for supersweet varieties to germinate. Your soil should have a pH of 6.0 to 6.5. Plant corn seeds about one- half to one inch deep three to four inches apart, in rows two to two and a halfTeet apart. Use a hoe or cultivate shallowly to control weeds. You can side dress with compost or a goodni - trogen fertilizer when the corn is about a foot tall. If it doesn't rain regularly keep the corn well wa- tered but not soggy. About three weeks after the silk appears the ears will be ready to pick, when the silk has dried and turned dark brown. While corn for summer pic- nics is an American tradition you will fmd your own late-sea- son corn to have a fuller, richer flavor than summer corn. In ad- ObOE OF THE EArLiEST VARIETES of sweet corn, named "Papoon," was raised by the Iroquois in 1779. dition to eating it fresh off the cob you can make corn chow- ders and even sweet corn cus- tard pie. All thanks to a fluke of the corn's genes. And thanks to Na- tire Americans for recognizing the mutation and giving us the debut of sweet corn. Address questions or comments to Pau) Barbano c/o the Cape Gazette.