1
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Help planting corn

Maize (corn)   

I want to dedicate a small space in my vegetable garden to planting some corn. Iā€™ve been meaning to do it for a long time but I never got round to it. I have a space of 4ā€™ x 6ā€™ that I have not earmarked for anything else yet and thought I would try for a small harvest in this space to start off. Do you think such a small space will be alright to begin with? Roughly how many plants can/should I grow in this space?


Posted by: Ellie (1 point) Ellie
Posted: May 7, 2013




Answers

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you really don't need too much space for corn. Your sized plot actually seems perfect for trying it out! For standard sweet corn varieties it is recommended that you plant seeds 6-8 inches apart in rows, then thin them out to 12-16 inches apart when plants are about 5 inches tall. For your small plot I would say you could just have a solid patch of corn without rows, but if you wanted you could make rows about 18-24 inches apart. You will probably need only one packet of seeds, unless you wanted to try multiple varieties.


Posted by: Kathryn Fiedler (72 points) Kathryn Fiedler
Posted: May 7, 2013


Ellie commented,
Great! Thanks. I was worried that it was a little on the small side for corn but I want to start off small and expand. Just one variety for now I think to see how it does
about 7 years ago.



1
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I like the suggestion of planting a single block of corn. I'd suggest planting only one, not more than two varieties, though. Corn is wind-pollinated, so your plants will need plenty of near neighbors of the same variety to ensure a good crop.

Another point about the local wildlife: blackbirds (and some other bird species) just love to hover over yur corn patch, waiting for the first sprouts to emerge. They they swoop down and pull up the swollen seeds, which is what they're after. In a small plot, you could see most of your seedlings disappear overnight.

What I do is lay down a sheet of polyester row cover (i have lot of rocks to weight it down) over each freshly-planted row or patch, and leave it on until the seedlings are about three inches tall. The birds won't be interested any longer. The protective cover allows rain and sunlight to penetrate, but it also allows weeds to germinate, so you'll probably have a little weeding to do after you remove it.

If you see a lot of cutworms http://bit.ly/15pjaVA while preparing the soil, sow seeds a little more thickly to accommodate some damage.


Posted by: Peg Boyles (3 points) Peg Boyles
Posted: May 8, 2013




1
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You can certainly grow corn in a small plot. I have tried planting in rows 18-24 inches apart and plants thinned to approx. 8-12 inches apart. Another method that works is a gridwork planting of hills, with hills about 18-20 inches on center, thinning to two plants per hill. I think 20-25 plants (10-12 hills) might fit?

Sweet corn is bushy, so you mainly want to avoid crowding. Planting more seeds and thinning to the desired spacing is a nice approach. As Kathryn F. said, you can wait until the plants have several leaves before thinning. If you are seeing pale, spindly plants, it's better to pull a few as they will not produce an ear.


Posted by: Charlie B. (2 points) Charlie B.
Posted: May 8, 2013




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If you are planting in rows, it is ideal to have at least three so that they properly pollinate - since corn it pollinated by wind and a little luck. (Or you can hand pollinate in a plot that small.) Don't plant more than one variety or you will likely have a problem with crossing. The USDA recommends at least 660 feet of isolation between varieties to prevent cross pollination, other sources claim up to 2 miles!

If you have raccoons in your area, they will likely decimate your small patch the day before you plan on picking ... Try planting winter squashes or melons around your corn - the raccoons don't like walking through the vines.


Posted by: Maggie Mae Farm (1 point) Maggie Mae Farm
Posted: May 10, 2013




0
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Where are you located? Do you see any wildlife near your garden? If you're in suburbia surrounded by trees and squirrels, you can bet they'll be watching and waiting for the corn you've planted for them. Raccoons also love corn. I planted a half dozen types of popcorn last year, and the squirrels got it all. Every time I visited my garden, one of them would be coming out of my very small corn patch, trailing corn silks.

I've heard an effective fence is loose at the top (a foot or so), so they can't get a good foothold and can't climb over it because their weight causes it to flop back.


Posted by: Tanya in the Garden (128 points) Tanya in the Garden
Posted: May 7, 2013


Ellie commented,
Thanks for the heads up - I will be on the look out for them. Not ideal with a potentially small harvest to begin with.
about 7 years ago.



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