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Knee high by the 4th of July!

Sweetcorn growing in a raised bed

Our little slice of the Midwest in Northeast Somerset

When 4 July comes around, I always think of my good friends Natalie and Jay across the pond in the US. They both grew up in the Midwest and so lived a childhood full of corn picked straight from the field.

The first time I visited them, we had our first Midwest corn and I have to say, nothing compared. Unlike the sweetcorn we’re used to over here, this corn was really fresh, succulent and sweet and the most noticeable thing – no bits between your teeth!

This defined sweetcorn for me and made me decide that I needed a little piece of the Midwest in our vegetable garden.

Which leads me to the title of this post…’Knee-high by the 4th of July’ is an old corn farmer saying that has stood the test of time in defining how good the harvest is going to be. Knee-high or taller by 4 July and it’ll be a good crop, sulking in a corner – not so good.

Measuring my leg to measure the corn

Get to know your vital statistics!

So two years ago, I decided to determine my crop by the same standard. I measured my leg from foot to knee at 21″ and then the corn to its middle leaf. At 24″ it was just a bit taller, but the crop was the best I’d ever had.

Measuring the height of sweetcorn

The man from Del Monte, he say...

Last year the corn languished, I didn’t even bother to measure it as it was so pathetic. But this year, I have redeemed myself and the corn is a hefty 25″. In fact, the bend in the tallest leaf measures as high as 31″!

So, a good crop is on the cards? I’ll update you to let you know the final results…

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  1. Jo Strange
    Posted 6 July 2011 at 10:01pm | Permalink

    Ah, not heard this saying before – love it! Sounds like you’ve got a good crop this year. As I’m (ahem) vertically challenged, every year I’d be thinking I was in for a good year!

    • Posted 7 July 2011 at 1:32pm | Permalink

      Hi Jo. Hmm, I think so long as you’re not a dwarf, the saying should still ring true and I’m sure your lovely legs are suitable for measuring corn height. If not, you could always grab a less vertically challenged friend and measure their legs surreptitiously.

      Just make sure they’re not too tall, otherwise you may live in perpetual disappointment…

  2. Natalie
    Posted 8 July 2011 at 4:14pm | Permalink

    The title of this post caught my eye… and then (Whoop!) a shoutout in the second line! How exciting!

    I’ve seen some sweet corn in the grocery already, but I haven’t had any yet (seriously, what’s wrong with me?). Maybe I’ll pick some up today!

    Can’t wait to explore the rest of the site later today. And a quick report: the corn around here is looking good so far… definitely knee high by the 4th of July – except the parts that have been washed out with some early rain. 🙂

    • Posted 8 July 2011 at 4:22pm | Permalink

      Yay! Nat
      Go get that corn and have some for me while you’re at it.
      Ours won’t be ready for a couple of months yet!

      Just had a deluge of rain today. Haven’t had a chance to get down the garden to see the state of everything. Fingers crossed the corn’s still standing…

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