It’s March, and even though the fields may still be covered in snow, Feeding America West Michigan has its eye on planting.
The Food Bank Farm project, begun last year with the help of the West Michigan Agricultural Education Center, is entering its second season. As we did last year, we’ll be growing sweet corn. The hope is that, with the help of WMAEC and our volunteers, we’ll be able to get an even larger yield than the 17,192 pounds harvested in 2013.
Simple to plant and fairly resilient in Michigan’s unpredictable weather, sweet corn is one of those vegetables that’s adored by almost everyone. All it takes to prepare is a burner and a soup pot, and it’s packed with fiber, a nutrient sorely lacking in many processed foods. Plus, it comes with its own wrapper.
What has this winter’s relentless snowfall mean for planting?
“Well, we’ll have to wait and see,” said Dr. Adam Kantrovich, a farm management educator with Michigan State University-Extension and a WMAEC board member.
“The positive to having a heavy snowfall is hopefully it will infiltrate into the ground for more ground moisture,” he said
The problem is that a late thaw could throw us off schedule. The soil needs to reach 50 degrees before the seed is planted, or it could rot in the ground.
At this point, Kantrovich estimates that planting will begin in early June. So whether this tough winter turns out to be a blessing or a curse for Michigan corn growers, we’ll have to wait and see.