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This is as corny as it gets for contestants

Winners stand tall in friendly competition

Matt Maciejewski, 14, sits atop a roof overlooking his tall corn stalks. He grew a stalk that measured 15 feet, 11 inches tall, for which he earned a “just for Greendalers” award.

Matt Maciejewski, 14, sits atop a roof overlooking his tall corn stalks. He grew a stalk that measured 15 feet, 11 inches tall, for which he earned a “just for Greendalers” award. Photo By Roy Reiman

Oct. 18, 2011

Greendale - Out of more than 100 contestants who have been stalking the village's first-ever Tall Corn Contest all summer, two winners emerged as of the official Oct. 1 measurement.

The overall winner was Brian North, a Franklin resident whose years of experience as a tallest corn and biggest vegetable contestant at the State Fair served him well in growing the 17- foot, 11-inch winning stalk.

Taking the "just for Greendalers" was 14-year-old Matt Maciejewski, who utilized his own gardening experience to grow a best-in-village stalk of 15 feet, 11 inches.

While North saw a notice of the contest last spring at a local garden center. Maciejewski said his grandmother gave him a pack of the seeds she picked up at the village's visitor center.

"I went back and got more packs," he said.

Key ingredients

North and Maciejewski credit great soil, lots of sun and the right mixture of fertilizer.

"I used a mixture of the seeds the village provided and some of the seeds from my own plants," North said. "They were about the same."

North said he used a "well-balanced fertilizer."

Maciejewski said the soil near his parents' garage worked well, and he used fish emulsion.

Both said the experience was enjoyable, though the dry, hot summer required extra work.

"I watered every day," Maciejewski said. "It was a lot of work."

Day jobs and winnings

When not entering corn contests, North and Maciejewski have lives that aren't rooted in the garden. North is a heavy equipment mechanic for the U.S. Postal Service in Oak Creek. Maciejewski is a freshman at Greendale High School.

North's grand prize included prizes from various Greendale village shops such as a free dinner for two and a basket of kitchen gadgets and cookbooks. While there was no stated prize for the Greendale winner, Maciejewski sort of doubled his winnings.

Last weekend, he played tuba as part of the Greendale High School Marching Band winning the state championship in Whitewater.

"He's been very busy," his mom said.

About the contest

The Tall Corn Contest began last spring with the distribution of giant hybrid plants from Brazil, according to Village Center Manager Anne Marie Pelkofer. She said more than 2,000 packets of the seed - enough kernels in each packet to start six plants - were sold for $1 each in late April.

"Growers who felt they may have the winner were asked to measure their tallest stalk on Oct. 1, then bring a photo of the measured height to the Greendale visitor Center," Pelkofer said.

There were no rules, she said, adding that contestants could apply any special tricks they wanted to get their stalks to reach the highest.

Rematch?

North and Maciejewski said they plan to compete again next year.

"Sure, I'd like to see if I can grow one taller," Maciejewski said.

North added, "If they let me, I'll do it again."

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