Florida SWEET CORN

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Classroom GuideMiddle SchoolHarvest of the MonthFloridaSWEET CORNDear Teacher,It’s the end of the Harvest of the Month season,but the fun is just beginning. Florida sweetcorn is taking center stage as the final productthis school year. Carrie Corn is the star of theshow in this month’s hit story about one of theSunshine State’s top agricultural commodities.Classroom RecipeFlorida Corn, Tomato and Avocado Salsa Serves 4INGREDIENTS:Meet Your Farmer 4 ears of Florida sweet cornBring classroom learning to the farm to show yourstudents how sweet corn is grown. Take your classto a Florida corn field to see it being harvested, orplan a fall field trip to a corn maze to encourageyour students to learn more about where their foodcomes from and maybe inspire a future farmer.For more resources, visit these websites:Florida Farm to SchoolFreshFromFlorida.com/FarmtoSchool 1 large avocado, peeled, seededand diced 1/2 cup red onion, finelychopped 1/2 cup Florida bell pepper,finely chopped 1 lime, juiced 1 teaspoon powdered cumin Hot sauce Sea salt and fresh groundpepper to tasteINSTRUCTIONS:1. Roast or boil the sweet corn. Chilland remove the kernels from the cobwith a knife. Corn can be preparedahead of time.2. Combine all ingredients in amedium-sized mixing bowl and stir.Find a corn maze near you:OnlyInYourState.com/Florida/Corn-Mazes-2016-FL 2 large Florida tomatoes, diced 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, torn orchoppedFlorida3. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper as desired. Add a fewdrops of your favorite hot sauce to add some extra kick.4. Serve with whole wheat or corn tortilla chips.This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Harvest of the MonthMiddle SchoolClass ChatterAll About Serving SizeDid You Know?While there is no percentdaily value listed for sugaron the nutrition facts label,health experts recommendkeeping your intake ofsugars as low as possibleas part of a nutritionallybalanced diet. Sugarslisted on the NutritionFacts label include bothnaturally occurring sugars(like those in fruit, milk andstarchy vegetables) as wellas those added to a foodor drink. You can check theingredient list to locate anysources of added sugars. Visit a local farmer’s market to find some uniquecorn varieties, such as yellow, white or bi-coloredcorn. Florida sweet corn is available from Octoberto June. Look for the Fresh From Florida logo inyour local grocery store. Corn is a member of the cereal grass family, andis related to other grains such as wheat, oats,barley and rice. An average ear of corn has 500 to 1,000 kernels. One ear of corn contains about the same amountof calories as a banana.Tasty Tips Purchase sweet corn with thehusks still attached. Look forgreen-colored husks and lots ofsilk tassels coming from the topof the ear. Store corn in the refrigerator withthe husk still on to preserve thefreshness. Freshly picked corn canlast in the refrigerator for up to aweek, provided it has not been stored in the sun orexposed to heat for long periods of time. Remove kernels from the cob by standing thecorn on end on a cutting board and cutting downthe cob with a sharp knife. Corn can be creamed, made into chowder, boiledor roasted. Add fresh corn to salads or mix it withnon-starchy vegetables. Steam corn for five to seven minutes, or tryroasting and grilling it for a smoky flavor. Do notadd salt to the water when boiling corn as thistoughens the kernels when cooking.FloridaNutrition FactsServing Size: 1 medium earAmount Per ServingCalories 95Calories from Fat 0% Daily Value*Total Fat 1g0%1%Saturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gCholesterol 0mg0%Sodium 1mg0%Total Carbohydrate 21g16%10%Dietary Fiber 2gSugars 5gProtein 3gVitamin A2%Calcium0% Vitamin C7%Iron3% *Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher orlower depending on your calorie needs.Good for Your Body Corn contains several B vitamins, which areessential for supporting the body’s metabolism,producing energy and aiding the body infighting disease and infection. Corn is a good source of vitamin C, magnesiumand phosphorus. Zeaxanthin and lutein are two antioxidants foundin corn that play a role in promoting eye health. The fiber found in sweet corn helps providefullness after meals, which can help youachieve and maintain ahealthy weight.eyesimmunesystemmetabolism

Sweet CornCorn, or maize, was first domesticated in Mexico over 10,000years ago. World explorers introduced this staple crop to othercountries where it grew in popularity due to its ability to thrive indiverse climates.There are six major types of corn: Dent Flint Pod Popcorn Flour SweetSweet corn is a variety of maize with a high sugar content that developed as a result of a naturallyoccurring mutation in the genes that control the conversion of sugar to starch in the corn kernel.While most corn is picked when it reaches full maturity and is turned into grain for animal feed orprocessing, sweet corn is picked at the peak of ripeness to be consumed fresh. Since sweet corn isharvested before the kernels dry out, it must be eaten fresh, canned or frozen. Sweet corn is one ofFlorida’s top agricultural commodities.Growing CornFresh sweet corn is a tasty treat. This unique plant isfun to grow but needs some special attention dueto the way it reproduces. Visit Bonnie Plants and theUniversity of Florida IFAS Extension resource pageto learn how to grow sweet corn in your home orschool garden.Label the parts of a pepper using the word bankbelow.WORD BANKTasselHuskEarSilkLeafRoots

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math ConnectionThree Sisters PlotCorn is a traditional crop that was initially grown and cultivated byindigenous cultures in Mexico and is now an important world foodcrop. This staple crop was often grown in a companion plantingcropping system known as the “Three Sisters.” When plantedtogether, the three crops (corn, beans and squash) are moreproductive and produce more food than if they were planted in amonoculture system.Working in teams, students will design a planting plan for atraditional Three Sisters plot and research the biological interactionsof this polyculture planting system. Considering how corn, beansand squash plants grow and the environmental conditions theyexperience throughout the season, prompt each group to considerthe following points in their planting map: Required plant spacing for each of the crops Desired row spacing for each crop Different spacial arrangements to maximizecrop spacing Common insect pests and diseases of the ThreeSister cropsPhoto Credit: Soilent Greens Physical traits of these plants that help combatpests and disease Factors that influence production yields Cultural methods to manage pest and disease(Integrated Pest Management) Other considerations (symbiotic relationships,biological synergy)Encourage your students to utilize the following resources to research how togrow corn, beans and squash in Florida: Corn – UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions Companion Planting Sarasota UF/IFAS County Extension Seminole Pumpkins –UF/IFAS Gardening Solutions Florida Vegetable Guide How to Plant the Three Sisters –Cornell University

Sunshine State Sweet CornCurrently, the United States produces nearly 40 percent of the world’scorn harvest. China, Brazil, Argentina and the Ukraine are the next top cornproducing countries.Florida produces more sweet corn for the fresh market than anywhere else in theUnited States, with Palm Beach County leading the way, holding over 27,000 acresof land devoted to growing this crop. Sweet corn needs an extended period of frostfree weather after planting, so the mild weather during the fall, winter and spring makeFlorida an ideal place to grow sweet corn. Rainfall is also important to the developmentof this crop as corn needs almost 20 inches of water in a single growing season. Adequaterainfall helps reduce the need to use irrigation on the corn fields. Typically, growers in southFlorida will plant from October to March, in central Florida from January to April and in northFlorida from February to April. It takes 75 to 90days for sweet corn to grow before it is ready to beharvested.Some of the most productive sweet corn counties inFlorida are:CollierDadeHendryJacksonManateeOrangePalm BeachSuwanneeYoung Corn FieldBelow is a table of the monthly average temperatures and rainfall totals observed during the sweet corn seasonfor each of the counties listed MarchAprilRain (“)Temp ( F)Rain (“)Temp ( F)Rain (“)Temp ( F)Rain (“)Temp ( F)Rain (“)Temp ( F)Rain (“)Temp ( F)Rain (“)Temp ( F)Palm ata provided from the National Centers for Environmental Information

When The Wind BlowsBeyond looking at seasonal temperatures and precipitation, wind is also an important environmentalfactor in corn production. Corn is a unique plant that relies on the wind to reproduce. Pollen, whichis produced by the tassels at the top of thecorn plant, is carried by the wind to the silksattached to the ears of corn. If the silks becomepollinated, a kernel will develop. All varieties ofcorn grow best in blocks of several rows plantedabout 3 feet apart from each other. Corn isplanted with a special machine to ensure theseeds (dried corn kernels) are precisely planted4 to 6 inches apart. This ensures that the plantsgrow close enough together to be pollinated bythe wind. Wind is essential for corn production,but strong winds can also damage the plants.Prolonged heavy rains can saturate the soil in the corn fields, causing the soil to soften and becomeloose. These soft soils do not cause a problem for well-developed corn plants, but for young plantsthat are just getting established, this can lead to issues if a strong wind accompanies the rain storm.The fibrous root systems anchor the corn plant into the soil, but the combination of soft soils andstrong wind speeds will cause the roots to become dislodged. Root lodging is the term used todescribe a root system that is pulled out of the soil on the windward side of the plant, but pusheddeeper into the soil on the leeward side. In more extreme cases, the corn plant can lean more than 45degrees. Similar damage can occur if the soil is extremely dry during early stages of growth as this mayprevent the roots from developing properly.Stalk breakage, also called green snap, iscommon following a period of strong winds.Corn plants that are rapidly growing have brittlecell walls, making them more susceptible to stalkbreakage. The corn plants can break atany point along the stalk, from the baseof the plant near the soil surface all theway to very top of the plant where thetassel will form. Green snap can cause areduction in the number of ears a cornplant is able to produce and may evendestroy the entire plant.

Wind is the horizontal motion of air and is a direct result of pressuredifferences across a geographic location.Wind is measured in two ways: Wind vanes measure the direction it is coming from. Anemometers measure the wind speed.Air flows from areas of higher pressure to areas of lower pressure. Thegreater the difference in pressure between the two areas, or the closer thetwo areas of differing pressure are to one another, the stronger the wind.The wind will always blow to try to equalize these differences, so the winddirection flows from high pressure to low pressure.Wind gusts are rapid fluctuations in the wind speed with a variation of10 knots ( 11.5 mph) or more between peaks and lulls. Many weatherphenomena can create these peaks in wind speeds. Hurricanes Strong Cold Fronts Winter Storms Sea Breezes ThunderstormsReviewing what you’ve just learned about how wind can affect sweet corn, explore the possibility ofgrowing this crop in your school garden.Use the WeatherSTEM station in your county to explore some different weather variables. To findthe closest WeatherSTEM station to you, use the link below, but replace ‘your-county-name’ with thename of the county where your school is or example, if your school is located in Leon County, visit https://leon.weatherstem.com)Select an available WeatherSTEM station in your county and write down the current values for:CURRENT TEMPERATURE FLOW TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY FHIGH TEMPERATURE FOR THE DAY FRAINFALL (LAST 24 HOURS)“WIND SPEEDmphWIND DIRECTION

Using the data mining tool on the website, go back and look at the rainfall data for the last twoweeks (14 days).To do this:1. Click on and select “10-minute Wind Gust.”2. Scroll down to the bottom of the page, select the time period from the calendar.3. Make sure that “Chart” is selected as the output format.4. Set the interval to “Minute” and select “Data Point” as the operation.Write the highest wind gusts you see on the graph on a sheet of paper. Click on the graph and apop-up should appear with a picture from the WeatherSTEM cloud camera, and radar and satelliteimages. What can you say about the weather on the day you selected?Activity #1Look at the wind speed and rainfall data from the day(s) with the highest wind gusts. Use the samesteps listed to plot the 10-minute wind gusts and add the rainfall (rain gauge) data to the graph.Answer the following questions:1. What are some of the things you first notice about the data on the graph?2. Why do you think this is the case?3. How did you come to these conclusions?4. How do you think the weather would impact corn plants in your area?Activity #2Compare data from a station outside of the state of Florida. Follow the same steps above and thegraph will show wind speed and rainfall from two different WeatherSTEM stations. Find a partnerto discuss the graphs and answer thefollowing questions:Answer the following questions:1. Why would the values be differentbetween the two locations?2. How can the location andlocal weather impact theseobservations?

Additional Resources:Explore these otherWeatherSTEM lessonsweatherstem.com/resources

to the way it reproduces. Visit Bonnie Plants and the University of Florida IFAS Extension resource page to learn how to grow sweet corn in your home or school garden. Label the parts of a pepper using the word bank below. Sweet Corn Growing Corn Sweet corn is a variety of maize with a high sugar content that developed as a result of a naturally

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