As all farmers know, even COVID-19 can’t stop the changing of the seasons. Spring planting will soon be upon us in the Midwest, and farmers are anxious for some “social distancing” in the tractor as they prepare the fields for the next crop. All of our anhydrous ammonia has been applied, and Dad is planning to get the last of the “good” fertilizer applied with the honeywagon this week. This free fertilizer (courtesy of our purebred Berkshire hogs) will be adding the three essential plant nutrients of nitrogen, potassium, and phosphorus, as well as many other micronutrients and organic matter. Spreading manure is a time consuming process, but it’s the best fertilizer around.
During this “coronacation” (as my freshman sister puts it), I have had ample time to study harder for the college courses in which I am enrolled. This includes my crop and food science class that I am taking through Southeast Community College. Even though I am not planning on pursuing a career in production agriculture, it is essential to know concepts of crop production. Don’t let my Dad tell you any different, but I’m teaching him a few things while taking this class. One of the new concepts that I was able to educate my father on is what corm is (and no, I didn’t spell corn wrong, it is c-o-r-m). I have been learning about modified stems and the plant systems when this new vocabulary word popped up. Just a fun fact for the day, “corm” is a rounded underground storage organ, sort of like a bulb but made of leaves, not roots. It is present in plants such as crocuses, gladioli, and cyclamens.
As we look forward to the new promises of the upcoming crop season, please stay healthy and safe! — Elizabeth Hodges