Soybeans and Corn: Feast or Famine

We found this article through - "Bumpy Crop: Farming's Sudden Feasts and Famines: As Grain Prices Rise and Fall and Perhaps Rise Again, Growers Struggle to Navigate a New Age of Volatility and High Costs" (here's the link:

It got us thinking. We grew corn and soybeans last year, and as novice gardeners, learned a lot but didn't harvest much. Because of our move, we can't plant them in 2009 but for Summer 2010... we intend to plant a LOT more soybeans and corn.

Soybeans: We grew "Envy" - which has fuzzy green leaves, and produces 5-8 pods per bush. And each pod had 3-4 beans inside. They are all ready to harvest at the same time, which makes it easy. Our 12 year old Son had fun uprooting the entire bush and plucking off the pods, then tossing the spent bush into the compost pile. We only planted about 30 bushes, which gave us about 10 servings of beans (well, that actually made it into the freezer - they are so good freshly picked and popped into the mouth). In 2010, we will sow at least 200 seeds - 200 bushes x 7 pods per bush = 1400 pods x 3 beans inside. We'll freeze about a third, and will dehydrate the rest. We already bought the seeds!

Corn: We experimented with three kinds last year: "Hopi Blue", "Bloody Butcher" and "Early and Often Sweet" - yes they cross-pollinated but we expected that. We just wanted the experience of growing and trying the plant via the "Three Sisters" method. Learned a lot. We planted about 70 seeds, and most produced at least 1 cob - some 3-4. For 2010, we decided to plant "Black Aztec" corn - good for eating fresh when still yellow, but as the kernels begin to darken, it's best to leave them on the cob to dry completely, and to store to grind for black corn meal. Two benefits! We'll plant maybe 400-500 seeds so we can have enough for fresh roasting, fresh freezing, and let the rest dry to grind throughout the next year as cornmeal.

So did you read that article? What did you think? Plan on planting your own soybeans and corn this coming year?

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