Sweet corn needs ample water now to fill-out the ears/kernels

Unless your memory is short, you remember the first half of the year as a wet one. That sure is my recollection, but, really, how wet was it?

Putting it into perspective, you should know that the average annual precipitation for Hampton Roads, as recorded at Norfolk International Airport, is 46.5 inches. And this year, we have averaged above-normal rainfall every month except February, which historically is the driest month of the year. And, now, we’ve finished the month of June an inch short.

But thanks to the other four months, particularly March and May, we find ourselves a whopping 24 percent above normal. The month of May, with 8.56 inches, was 151 percent greater than normal (3.41 inches). March (4.9 inches) was 33 percent higher than normal (3.68 inches). So, six months in, we’re up 3.5 inches, or the amount of an average month.

And, yet, depending upon where you live, and whether those storm cells passed over your location, you could have a different perspective. After all, nobody lives at the airport.

With respect to water, different plants have different needs. And these needs may vary considerably within their developmental cycles throughout the season or seasons.

But it’s not just how much, or how little, but – perhaps most importantly – how it is distributed throughout the season. Case in point: corn. This year, your garden’s sweet corn may have struggled to germinate, given the deluge we had in the spring. But if you were successful, those plants now need ample water as the ears develop and fill out.

I’m betting that most gardens had a bit too much water this spring. But June was dry and had me watering my raised bed and pots almost on a daily basis. It remains to be seen what the rest of the summer has in store, but the dog days are here.

term of the week

Inflorescence – a cluster or group of flowers on a main axis and categorized by the complexity of branching and the timing of the opening of individual flowers. Inflorescence types are helpful in plant ID, with similar inflorescence types found in a particular family. In the…