Seems like the whole world is getting corny these days. Nothing new for me, I’ve been told I have a penchant for being corny evident in the picture below. These two ladies in Belize taught me how to balance beer bottles on my head and I have to say my inclination towards corny activities made me a quick study.
Today corn is everywhere and has become controversial. We have corn syrup in our soft drinks, corn in our breakfast cereal and corn in our gas tanks with the surge in ethanol production and bio-fuels. This is not an article to weigh in on the a-maize-ing debate taking place on alternative uses for corn. I did want to make mention of a natural byproduct however called corn gluten meal. Credit for discovery and development goes to Dr. Nick Christians and Iowa State University in the late 80’s and throughout the 90’s. In the past few years the general public has caught on and interest has grown among homeowners in using corn gluten meal as a weed control, stopping root formation at the time of germination. After germination it has no effect on weeds. In other words it is a natural pre-emergent weed control. Applications in spring and fall can have an effect on weed seed germination. In addition, corn gluten is 9 to 10% nitrogen by weight, 100 lbs. can give you 10 lbs. of slow release natural nitrogen feeding of your lawn. Intially after application it smells like you’re living in a corn field, but that soon goes away. I have to say it smells better initially than the Milwaukee sewage we put on our lawns in the form of Milorganite.
Corn is an a-maize-ing plant, a C4 like Crabgrass or Miscanthus. C4 plants are very adaptable, tolerate difficult conditions and grow quickly due to the aggressive photosynthetic pathway used by a C4 plant compared to most plants classified as C3. That’s why you can watch corn grow, quickly becoming “knee high by the 4th of July.” Below is a picture of the back of a bag of Bradfield organics Corn gluten, you can see it has 9% by weight available nitrogen for your lawn. “Stalk” about yet another use for corn!