June 25th, 2009

Field Corn Eight Inches Tall

We had a good rain today and yesterday. My renter’s field corn is doing well– it’s at least eight inches tall now. I planted my sweet corn later– dad always said sweet corn does better if it is planted after the soil is good and warm. Now that I am trying to grow a crop of sweet corn, I realize that I don’t know what “good and warm” means, but I waited two weeks after the field corn was planted to plant my sweet corn. We’ll see. The rain has brought on growth. I’ll be cultivating this weekend. It will be the third time already. I suspect I am over cultivating, but I don’t intend to use any herbicide and I don’t want to do any more hand hoeing than absolutely necessary.

I am not an organic farmer, but I avoid herbicides, pesticides, and cormmercial fertilizer. I am not an organic farmer because I reject reductionism. I do not make decisions based on slogans or rules of thumb. Some day, when I have a good reason, I may decide to use a pesticide. If I decide that, it will be because I have considered all the evidence and the consequences. On the whole, I think using pesticides and herbicides is a risky proposition, but there may be situations when not using them is even riskier. Rejecting those possibilities out-of-hand is irresponsible sloth, at least as bad as blindly accepting the self-serving claims of the chemical salesmen.

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