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Where tall corn grows

By Staff | Aug 5, 2011

PhyllisAnn Frohlich, of rural Farnhamville, takes the tape measure to the top of her tallest sweet corn plant Saturday to determine that it stands 11 feet 5 inches tall.

By LARRY

KERSHNER

Farm News news editor

FARNHAMVILLE – Iowa is said to be “the land of tall corn;” however, that usually doesn’t mean sweet corn.

Just a mile south of this Calhoun County community, PhyllisAnn Frohlich, who lives on the farm where she grew up, measured her tallest sweet corn plant Saturday afternoon that stretched the tape 11 feet 5 inches. The primary ear measured 7 feet 5 inches from the ground.

Red spots on the developing kernels of a nub ear indicate this is a red sweet corn variety, although Frohlich couldn’t remember which kind.

Among a dozen other plants in that row were several stalks that stand just inches shorter.

“I planted seeds that I took from some nubby ears last year,” Frohlich said. “They grow better for me.”

She said she’s never had sweet corn grow that tall in her garden before.

She explained that last spring, she shoveled some chicken litter and horse manure from the barn, mixed the nutrients with the garden’s soil, turning it over with a spade, then made her rows and planted seeds.

Her other vegetable rows include squash, tomatoes, carrots and beets, but nothing else appears to be as out-sized as her sweet corn.

A young ear shows white corn kernels with spots of red – a variety of red sweet corn, although Frohlich doesn’t recall exactly which it is.

She said that following a strong wind storm that blew in from the north last month, the row of her tall corn “was laying flat on the ground.” The plants, she said, with her hand extended, palm down, “were about this tall” – about 4 feet.

Within a few days, she said, the plants had righted themselves and continued with their growth.

Frohlich said she’s not a lifelong farmer.

She’s worked as an airline stewardess; as a model and singer in California, and has appeared in several productions at the Hawkeye Theatre.

Contact Larry Kershner at (515) 573-2141, ext. 453 or at kersh@farm-news .com

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