Farmers to gather sweet corn

Mary Ross, of Bismarck Gardens just outside North Lawrence, looks over an ear of sweet corn Thursday. This year’s crop of sweet corn will be available beginning next week, after spring rains forced a delay in planting. Ross expects to begin selling sweet corn on Tuesday.

Rain and the wheat harvest

Lawrence Municipal Airport received 1.1 inches of rain during Wednesday’s storm, 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell said, and the southern part of Douglas County received considerably less rain. Now farmers will do their best to get back out to the fields to resume the wheat harvest as soon as they can, but the wet ground might hold them off for a few days.

Officials at the grain elevator in Baldwin City said they had seen a crop so far with test weights of 58 to 61 pounds per bushel.

“It’s starting out to look fairly decent, but any more rain on it right now will start lowering that test weight,” said Steve Wilson, owner and manager of Baldwin Feed Co.

It’s not ready yet.

Area farmers say spring rains forced a later planting — so it will be at least next week before that delicious sweet corn is available.

But patience could be a virtue for those craving sweet corn.

“I also think because of all the rain we had, it’s going to be really sweet,” said Jane Wohletz, who plants the crop southeast of Lawrence.

Wohletz, who operates Tomato Allie with her husband, Jerry Wohletz, said spring rain made the ground too wet for planting several months ago, so they put it in the ground later than normal. Sweet corn typically takes 72 days to mature, she said.

Even with the recent heat this week, it’s been a wet year in Douglas County. By Thursday afternoon, the Lawrence area was more than a half-inch ahead of normal June rainfall, and 2.84 inches ahead of the normal year, said 6News Chief Meteorologist Matt Elwell.

The wet and cooler spring weather means the sweet corn likely won’t be ready until next week at the earliest — and possibly after the Fourth of July. Farmers said the crop is typically ready in late June or early July.

Members of the Ross family, who operate Bismarck Gardens just outside North Lawrence, plan to open their gardens Monday and begin selling sweet corn on Tuesday.

John Pendleton, of Pendleton Country Market east of Lawrence, said the hot weather the last few days has helped the growth of many crops in the area, especially sweet corn. “Anything that didn’t die from drowning is honestly probably in halfway decent shape,” he said.