Up to my ears…

… in cornstalks!

JTT Corn (Detail) photo Cornfield-02_zps4e283434.jpg

I’ve just spent several hours over two days planting corn in the large field at St. Williams. I did not count them as I planted, but based on how much I ordered and how much is left, it’s safe to say there are more than 2,000 corn stalks in this field:
JTT Corn (Overview) photo Cornfield-01_zpsc95b6a8f.jpg

(To recap, before Christmas I placed a bulk order for these lovely cornstalks, manufactured for HO scale by JTT Scenery Products. The service was excellent – and the package was shipped directly from the factory in Viet Nam.)

I originally planned to plant a field of corn near the depot in St. Williams, and in fact planted a test-patch of about 100 stalks:
Cornfield at St. Williams photo Corn-JTT-01.jpg
(Where the corn used to be…)

But I’ve decided to do something else with that space, and the big field called out for corn.

Here’s how to plant a scale cornfield:

– Poke a hole in your scenery base with an awl.
– Grab a corn stalk with a pair of needle nose pliers (preferably with sprung jaws) and dip the bottom in a puddle of white glue (PVA).
– Stick the stalk in the hole.
– Repeat 2,000 times.

Was the effort worth it? Well, as I look across the tops of the stalks at a passing train, I certainly think so:
X1560 West at St. Williams photo Cornfield-03_zps7fc35f94.jpg CNR 1560 and Cornfield photo Cornfield-04_zpsaf996e5e.jpg Across the cornfield photo Cornfield-05_zps500e98ce.jpg

While there’s still a lot of work to do in St. Williams (including fencing in the fields), I think this area of the layout is coming together nicely. I’m particularly pleased by this view, looking east from the highway overpass:
St. Williams Interlude photo StWilliams-South_zps3dc95074.jpg

And it was a nice break from building tobacco!

21 thoughts on “Up to my ears…

    • Hi Simon:
      Thanks for the nice words, and it certainly is like eating an elephant. I just turned on the radio and started planting… and tried to not look at the blank portion of the field.

  1. Wow! That last shot really shows some hard work. It also shows the different elevations on the flat prairie you created. After all of the planting you have been doing, I guess I’m lucky just to have 2000 trees on my layout!. With that much farming going on, you might need another flat car delivering more tractors! (grin) Very nice scene coming together. How’s the storm?

    Mike S

    • Hi Mike:
      Thanks for the kind words. Don’t remind me about trees – there are a lot to do for my layout too! At least the corn was really straight-forward – no construction required.
      The storm – we survived. It’s raining now, which should deal with a lot of the snow…

  2. Hi Trevor


    Having built hundreds trees for layouts and modules, do not know if I would have had the patience. It adds to the layout story without explanation. Well done.


    • Hi Bill:
      Great to hear from you and sure you would. Planting them was actually a whole lot easier than building a tree. Just time consuming…

  3. Trevor
    Your last photo “looking east from….” captured the feel of nearly forgotten branch line with its minimal maintenance and light rail. Few modelers have captured the atmosphere as well as you.
    Good Job!


    • Hi Gene:
      Thanks for the kind words – they mean a lot to me! Glad you enjoyed the photo and I know it’s the style of railroading you like to model too.
      There’s still a lot to do in that scene, but it is coming together…

    • Thanks, Mark.
      They do it in O scale, too, you know. But not much call for corn along the New York waterfront…
      (You need to come over sometime to see it in person. Email me.)

  4. Trevor, Makes me feel like a hundred different places I’ve beeb to, espicially with your wood and stone structure behind it. Keep it up .

  5. Did you use the HO? So a packet of 36 covers approximately how many scale inches.?These are perfect looking. Well worth it. I can use them for wargaming and trains.

    • Hi Kevin:
      Yes, I used the HO. If you took a packet of 36 and built six rows of six, it would cover about 3.5″ x 1.5″ in S scale. At least, that’s what it covers on my layout. I didn’t measure as I planted – I simply planted my rows fairly tightly and then spaced them so a person could walk between them without too much trouble.
      A scale cornfield of any size will require a lot of corn. As I’ve mentioned previously on this blog, I bought three packages at a local hobby shop to test them. When I liked what I saw, I didn’t buy more packages – I contacted the manufacturer and ordered in bulk.

  6. Looks a lot like driving along Delaware Highway 26 yesterday enroute to US 113 and points north. Farmers plant feed corn and human corn so they stagger the human corn available for the farm stands all season long. Makes for fields of short to tall early in the season. Animal feed all gets harvested at once in the fall.

    You are doing a great job!

    • Hi Bill:
      Thanks for the feedback – glad you like the corn. I notice the same thing – different heights in different fields – as I take my border collies to work sheep in the country northeast of Toronto.
      I’ll need to add fences around the corn and other crops at some point – but I want to work on scenery and details in a specific order (from backdrop to fascia) so that I’m not reaching over foreground details to work on background scenery. So it’s going to be a little while before I get to the fences around my crops…

    • Hi Adam:
      Thanks for the kind words. I really do like the field.
      I’m reluctant to share pricing because that’s really up to JTT to decide. If you want to order a lot of product from them, I suggest you get in touch with them directly.

  7. Thanks for the heads up about this!! Not surprised at its popularity! Looks just a treat! I’m definitely going to be planting some corn myself based on your experience!
    BTW, despite your modesty, I am an acolyte watching your every move. 😉

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