Corny Chicago Gardening

Corny Chicago Gardening
Photo courtesy of GreenMark Public Relations, Inc.

I’ve grown corn in the garden before, not to eat it but or the decoration. Since corn is so subsidized in America it doesn’t seem prudent to grow it for sustenance in a small urban garden when you can buy it for 10 cents an ear at the grocery store or the fruit and vegetable trucks that dot some Chicago neighborhoods. Even so there’s something about gardeners in Chicago growing corn in their yards that brings a smile to my face. I mostly spot corn growing in Hispanic neighborhoods and it never seems like enough to yield a decent crop or even enough tassels for proper pollination, but still they grow it. I often wonder if growing it is a way reminder of their home countries or a way to remember agrarian lives.  This year I spotted corn growing in the most unusual place. In the photo above that grow of corn is growing at Ohio exit of the Kennedy. It was planted as part of Chicago Gateway Green project by Garrett Popcorn shops.

Do you grow corn in your garden? What’s your harvest like?

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Filed under: Urban Farming

Tags: Corn, Urban Farming


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  • I don't grow it. When I was a kid the family garden was very large and we always had a big section planted in corn. That was in the days before all the supersweet hybrids, and corn had to be very fresh or it was starchy and not very sweet. We had our corn on the table within an hour of harvesting, and it was delicious.

    I saw a photo somewhere recently that showed corn instead of grasses in an ornamental garden, and it was really pretty.

  • In reply to ssgardengirl:

    I went on a garden walk this summer and saw corn growing in a parkway and thought it was an odd location for corn. It wasn't until I crossed the street and saw that the large planting of corn was being used as a privacy screen and shielded the home's windows from the traffic of the busy street it was set on. It was kind of genius, I'd never thought of corn as a privacy screen.

  • I tried growing corn years ago when we lived in a house with a backyard big enough for a garden. The squirrels ate it. To add to the insult, they would do it in broad daylight. I remember looking out the back window and seeing stalks shake and then come down, seemingly on their own. Until a saw a squirrel nibbling at my niblets.

  • In reply to Dennis Byrne:

    Ha! Squirrels are the reasons we can't have nice things in Chicago.

  • You're right, of course. Growing corn in Chicago is completely stupid. However, I do it anyway, because corn is just such a magical plant. Plus, people go insane when they see all the corn in my tiny backyard, so it's fun for the shock value!

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