July 1, 1992
Harvesting sweet corn at the right stage of maturity is essential to ensure high quality produce.
Sweet corn should be harvested at the milk stage. At this stage the silks are brown and dry at the ear tip. When punctured with a thumbnail, the soft tender kernels produce a milky juice. Sweet corn that is past its prime is tough and doughy. An immature ear will not be completely filled to the tip and the kernels will produce a clear, watery liquid when punctured.
Dahlias are popular additions to many gardens because of their versatility. They do well in gardens as bedding plants and as specimen plants in containers. Dahlias also make excellent cut flowers. In my opinion, there is nothing more impressive at a flower show than the large "dish plate"-sized dahlia flowers. Their flowers display a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
Daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) have become one of the most popular perennials. Their easy care and beautiful flowers make them useful in both formal and informal gardens. Daylilies perform best in full sun, but will tolerate partial shade as well. They are relatively disease and insect free except for normal garden pests such as aphids and spider mites. Flowers last only a day giving the plant its common name. Hundreds of varieties are available with new varieties released every year. Proper variety selection will allow flowering from spring until frost.
Many home gardeners have problems with raccoons eating their sweet corn. In an effort to prevent this damage, gardeners have used various techniques to scare away the raccoons. Some gardeners place blood meal around the sweet corn planting. Others set a blaring radio in the center of the patch. Unfortunately, these control measure are often unsuccessful. The most effective way to prevent damage to the sweet corn crop is to encircle the area with an electric fence.
The dry weather continues to be a problem for home gardeners in Iowa. Many garden crops, such as strawberries, will require watering.