The corn is as high as an elephant’s eye in Albert Lea couple’s garden

Published 9:10 am Friday, September 18, 2009

The corn really is as high as an elephant’s eye in John and Charlotte Leininger’s backyard.

As subscribers to Our Iowa magazine, the Albert Lea couple was sent seeds from Mexico and Brazil to grow. Iowa residents are eligible to take part in a contest to see who can grow the tallest stalks of this corn. The winner will receive $500 worth of pork, beef and gasoline. Some 66,000 packets of seed were sent out.

While the Leiningers aren’t eligible for the contest, they have been having lots of fun watching the corn grow.

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Earlier this week, from the group to the tip of the tassel, the tallest measured 13 1/2 feet.

Pioneer Seed officials, who assisted in the magazine in obtaining the seeds from Brazil and Mexico, said the stalks could grow to 15 feet and taller in Iowa, Charlotte said.

“They said, ‘Don’t expect a big ear. Expect a big plant,’” John added.

“It won’t have much of an ear,” he said. “If a person were raising cattle, it would be good for silage.”

John said he didn’t do anything special to the plants after they started growing. The plants were slow to tassel, he added.

The magazine has been keeping readers updated on the progress of the contest. One stalk measured 23 feet. Another grower put a tomato cage around a tall corn stalk.

The couple said Edward Jones Co. in Iowa serves as the “official measurer” for the contest. The winner will be announced in the December/January issue of the magazine.

The Leiningers said their neighbors have noticed the tall stalks towering above everything else in their garden.

“It’s quite a conversation piece,” John said.

Both John and Charlotte were raised west of Algona, Iowa.

They grow “a little of everything” in their garden, they said.