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Corn Growing Empty Corn Growing

Post  johnp on 4/22/2015, 9:00 am

I will be planting a 4x4 box with corn for the first time. The book shows 4 per square with additional plantings every two weeks. Four per square seems a lot. What have you other corn growers done ?
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Post  boffer on 4/22/2015, 9:54 am

I've always grown a longer season corn that gets over 7 feet tall.  There's no way 4 root balls will fit in a square.  I've tried 1 and 2 per square.  I've compromised by making my grid 9x9 inches instead of 12.  By fudging a couple inches, that makes  25 squares (5x5) in a 4x4 box.  This is my third year with that spacing, and I like it.

Some folks who planted more densely had pollination issues in the inner squares.

I also put a railing around each box to keep the corn from blowing over.  The right combo of wind and rain will put the stalks on the ground otherwise.

Fresh corn is my garden favorite, so I pay a little more attention to it. The seed package says to expect 85% germination, and that's what I get year after year. Since I want to maximize my harvest, I plant an additional 20% of seeds along a grid line as back-ups. I then transplant them into the squares that don't germinate so I have a full box.
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Post  yolos on 4/22/2015, 11:10 am

In a 4 x 4 area, I am getting about 18 stalks.  I space them about 10 inches apart at least.  In a pattern.  Something like this:
  X    X    X    X    X
     X    X    X    X
  X    X    X    X    X
     X    X    X    X
I realize that this is farther apart than most raised bed gardeners use, but I have lots of space.  Even at this distance apart, they are not well pollinated.  What I found was that lots of pollen drops but a ton of it falls on the leaves.  Since we have very heavy dew, lots and lots of the pollen sticks to the leaves and never hits the silks.  So I still have to hand pollinate if I want a decent crop.  My corn beds are on the ground so if the roots want to go down, there is plenty of room.  Also, I plant my corn in a trench and slowly fill the trench as the corn grows.  This helps a little with the corn trying to blow over.
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Post  sfg4uKim on 4/22/2015, 1:53 pm

I do mine a bit different and have had great success growing "4 per square" in a 2'x2' bed.

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Post  CapeCoddess on 4/22/2015, 2:10 pm

That's an awesome little tutorial. Thanks Kim!
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Post  sfg4uKim on 4/22/2015, 2:44 pm

You're welcome.

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Post  mschaef on 4/22/2015, 8:24 pm

I am growing corn for the first time this summer and put 4-5 seeds in my middle four squares. I have a 4x4. I have about 80% start to grow. Now I know the rest are probably are not going to show up. Heres hoping it turns out alright. Corn Growing 3170584802
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Post  sanderson on 4/22/2015, 8:31 pm

Kim, If I was going to grow corn again, I would try your method.

In general. I have planted Silver Queen corn 3X and the last was actually pretty successful. If I ever do it again, I would try 3 per square because of the thick canopy of leaves and extra ears.

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Post  llama momma on 4/22/2015, 9:20 pm

johnP

This year I'm growing the variety called peaches and cream.  In my box it gets about 6-1/2 ft or so tall.  I'm putting 4 per square as I've done in the past and hopefully this year will be as successful as the past.  I don't stagger planting times.  I put a short critter cover over the young seedlings to keep out critters and my barn cats from using it as a litter box. Later it'll get chicken wire fencing to keep out deer and horizontal support for wind control.
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Post  FRED58 on 4/22/2015, 9:32 pm

Wow, this triggered a pleasant memory.

When I was a kid (censored) years ago, helping my Grandpa plant his garden, he would always plant four seeds together in a small hill. I asked him why? "One for he black bird, one for the crow, one for the cutworm and one to grow"

Now I've got to see if I have any room for corn  Very Happy
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Post  Razed Bed on 4/22/2015, 10:11 pm

We grew a lot of sweet corn and even tried popcorn.  We used regular rows but with SFG methods from a previous book.  We could get 200 stalks in a small area in 5 rows of 40.

We stopped growing corn when about 15 healthy raccoons showed up to stake their claim to it.  Then 5 or 6 moved in upstairs in our attic and became fruitful and multiplied.
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Post  sanderson on 4/23/2015, 12:53 am

@Razed Bed wrote: We stopped growing corn when about 15 healthy raccoons showed up to stake their claim to it.  Then 5 or 6 moved in upstairs in our attic and became fruitful and multiplied.
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Post  Goosegirl on 4/23/2015, 3:30 am

@sanderson wrote:
@Razed Bed wrote:  We stopped growing corn when about 15 healthy raccoons showed up to stake their claim to it.  Then 5 or 6 moved in upstairs in our attic and became fruitful and multiplied.
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Post  johnp on 4/23/2015, 8:06 am

great help everyone, going with a combination like  Kim's but with a little less than four per sq. Have a friend who relayed a story about  his corn. They had a great crop going and he checked several ears and they were ready. He brought one ear home to show his wife and said tomorrow we pick. They went out the next day and the bears wiped them clean. Total crop for the year, one ear. Evil or Very Mad

Peaches and cream are what all the growers around here grow. It is good but I am tired of the same thing for several years, that's why I'm growing my own, I hope.
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Post  vortex on 5/4/2015, 11:06 am

I'll be growing Northern Xtra-Sweet Hybrid this year, which only grows to about 5' in height.

Planting 2/sq, with one in the bottom left and one in the top right of each square.

Then mixing some blue lake 47 in some of the open 6" squares, as well as a few summer squash. I wasn't 100% sure on how I was going to plant out this box yet, but came to the decision a couple days ago. It's not as dense as 4/sq, but more dense than I did last season.

I really like the trench idea. I think I'll give that a try this year. Not sure I really need it as there is a good privacy fence on 2 sides of my garden (north and east) that really help curb the wind most of the time, and the house blocks from the southwest. Unless we get a good storm going straight east, I'm in a pretty good spot.
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Post  twodaend on 5/4/2015, 4:03 pm

I was wondering how should I plant my corn.  I was going to do one 1 x 8 section a week, but I don't know if I should plant in the order I have or reverse it.

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Post  boffer on 5/4/2015, 4:44 pm

It's frequently recommended to plant corn in blocks, rather than in a single row, to help with pollination.  I would plant something like this.
Corn Growing Scree110

Burpee says S and S days to harvest is  80 days at 7+ feet tall.
         says Early-X days to harvest is 71 days at 5-6 feet tall.

They are both Sh2, so cross-pollination shouldn't be an issue.
Plant spacing is 12" for both varieties.
Trellis is north side of box.

A one week planting interval of each variety might not give you the staggered harvest you're interested in.  Weather is a big factor.

What I would do is plant:

Week 1/block 1: sun and stars
Week 2/block 3: early extra
Week 3/block 2: sun and stars
Week 4/block 4: early extra

I'm curious to see how others would plant!
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Post  vortex on 5/4/2015, 5:04 pm

I think the 1 week interval is geared towards the post earlier up thread that referenced (directly or through a link, can't remember right now) planting a row every week would allow the next row (that was planted a week later) to pollinate the row from the week before.

The 4x8 plan presented by twodaend seems fine, provided one row of squares is planted each week. There will probably need to be a helping hand with pollination, but that's alright.


Speaking of a helping hand with pollination, I wonder if you could "spank" corn like tomatoes? Just a little vibration to help that pollen spread, and anything on the leaves would/could be put back into use instead of just going to waste. I may have to give that some thought and try it this year.
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Post  yolos on 5/4/2015, 6:00 pm

I have tried a number of options for helping pollination.  Yes you can very gently shake/spank the tassels if the wind is not doing its job.  Also, if you gently shake the tassels when there is no wind, the pollen will drop straight down.  When I did this, there was a lot of pollen falling on the leaves.  I used a small fluffy paint brush and ran it down the leaf to pick up pollen and then ran it over the silks.  I have also gently cut the tassel and used it to brush the silks.  I have also cut the tassels and let them drop into a pot, then used a brush to apply the pollen to the silks.  Many different ways to accomplish hand pollination.  What you don't want to happen is have the wind blow the pollen off the tassels in the opposite direction from the corn you are trying to pollinate.
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Post  SalsaMom on 5/10/2015, 3:22 pm

We just planted corn today!  Here is how we did it - last year and this year.
We have two beds just for corn.  They are 2' x 8' - maybe 10" tall too - I'd have to measure (we've had them a while - so I forget). 
We keep plastic garden fencing around it, cover the top with chicken wire (that gets removed as the corn gets tall) and we put part of a cattle panel (we cut to fit) over the soil about 2/3 of the way 'down' to support the corn as it grows so it doesn't blow over in that nice friable soil.  We use velcro strips to attach the chicken wire 'top' and even the cattle panel.
This setup has kept the critters out of it - we do have racoons, skunks and lots of birds around and everything likes corn.

Last year planted Silver Queen, hybrid.  I put in a 10g pack for each bed.  I think we had about 75 plants total between the two beds (?).
They did great!  We committed to getting out there when it was ready and shucking it, parboiling it and freezing it.  Delicious.
The year before we planted corn and we let it go bad - it was tough and horrible - so I told my hubby and daughter last year if we plant it - we are ALL getting out there and getting it when it's ready!

This year I got more aggressive and planted...shoot - where is that pack.  Same brand of seeds and same type - this time I put about 63 plants in EACH of those beds.
We'll see how it does. 

Last year I snagged some composted chicken poo from my co-op and I did that again this year since last year's corn seemed to like it.
I just raked it into the top of the beds before we put the seeds in.

I can get some pics of my beds if it would help...I think half the battle is keeping critters out- then the corn is fine - haha.
Don't dilly-dally harvesting it when it's ready either.  Get out there and harvest it and immediately get it ready to be frozen or whatever.
I think corn is a bit of work - but it's so much better than the stuff at the store.

Good luck!  We dig our corn patch!
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Post  littlejo on 5/11/2015, 11:37 am

I been planting my corn 4 per sq. (silver queen) and it pollinates well, even if the wind blows it over. I tried 1 bed of Country Gentleman 1 yr. It is about 10 ft tall, and did not do well. Evidently does not like the close spacing.

The farmers down here plant their corn in tight spacing. Rows are just wide enough for the harvester(4 to 6ft) You cannot squize between stalks to cross row.

I usually put compost before I plant. Then I apply some more when corn is about 10 inches tall. The big farmers apply fertilizer at this time, for corn is a heavy feeder.

I love my corn and would not garden if corn would not grow. I usually plant 2 4x8 beds.  

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Post  vortex on 5/11/2015, 2:15 pm

Fresh sweet corn is definitely one of my favorites. Right up there with slipping a cantaloupe off the vine, chopping it up, and digging in.

Funny that you mention you wouldn't garden if you couldn't grow corn. Our HOA has explicitly in the covenants that you cannot plant corn. This has fostered some debate with friends as to why.

Height? No, seeing as they didn't mention pole beans or other tall stuff.

Liquor? Um, no, good luck on making enough corn on a small lot to turn into Al Capone.

Various critters? Nope, else they would have banned half the attractive plants that are all over and draw everything from deer to raccoons and such.

The only thing I can think of is that 15 years ago when they were planning out this subdivision, the farmer they were piecing from grew corn and didn't want to risk cross pollination. Either that, or Monsanto did it.

Either way, I guess I'm not a very good HOA member. Twisted Evil
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Post  twodaend on 5/17/2015, 5:41 pm

@twodaend wrote:I was wondering how should I plant my corn.  I was going to do one 1 x 8 section a week, but I don't know if I should plant in the order I have or reverse it.

Corn Growing Corn_210


Just wondering, if I do go with this staggered approach, should I plant in the order I have them which is west to east or should I reverse things and plant east to west which would reverse my weeks.
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Post  vortex on 5/18/2015, 10:50 am

Which direction does the majority of your wind come from during the summer where you're planting your corn?

For example, if your wind is mostly from the south, I would plant from north to south. If it were from the west, I would plant from east to west. Remember to take into account the surrounding landscape, as things like trees, houses, buildings, hills, or whatever can divert the wind.

With the weekly staggered approach, the idea behind it is that when row 1 is ready to receive pollen, row 2 is just starting to produce pollen. Thus, row 2 can help pollinate row 1. Rinse, repeat.

Now if row 2 were planted so that it was between the prevailing wind direction and row 1, then that could help get the pollen where it needs to go. Where if it were planted on the other side (where row 1 was between the wind and row 2) then the pollen from row 2 would blow the wrong way.
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Post  twodaend on 5/18/2015, 1:15 pm

Thanks. My winds are from all directions but I would say mainly from west to east. Also based on shadows from the house, my corn box will be in full sun from west to east as the shadow retreats closer to the house and stay in full sun until the shadow returns again moving from west to east across the box. 

I think I'm going to reverse my weeks and plant from east to west as suggested.
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