7 Easy Tips On How To Grow Corn
Have you ever grown your own corn? Did it turn out not so great? Well, that can happen when corn is not grown in the right conditions that it needs to grow. Try out these 7 easy tips on how to grow corn.
1. Start With The Right Soil
When you grow corn, to get the best results you need to start off with the right soil conditions. The soil needs to be loose and not packed. You can loosen it up by using a tiller over it a few times.
Also, the type of soil you have will also impact on how you grow your corn. Red clay soil often gives you less corn and smaller ears with missing kernels.
Ways to fix your soil is to add in healthy top soil and nutrients that are needed for corn to grow. You can just dump them over your poor soil area and then use the tiller to mix them in. You can also grow corn in raised beds for even more control on the soil conditions.
2. Be Sure To Allow For Space
When you plant corn, you do so by planting in small blocks of rows. There are other ways to plant, but this one really works the best and for a few different reasons.
After any threat of frost is gone, you can seed your corn. First, take a pointed hoe and make a few rows in the area you will be planting. Then drop your seeds into the rows and cover back over with soil.
When the sprouts are a few inches tall, you may need to thin a little depending on how thick they pop up. If you have 3-4 to a small area, pull a few up to allow for space. The ones you remove, you can replant in areas that may not have sprouted as well.
3. Plant In The Right Area
To grow corn, it needs lots of sunlight! That means if you are thinking of planting it in your garden that is at the edge of the tree line, it may not do so well.
Instead, try to find an area that gets full sun for most if not all day. By doing that, you will up your chances of growing the great corn crop that you are looking for.
4. Don’t Depend On Mother Nature For Pollinating
Mother nature can be great, but it is not always dependable. When grown in large fields they depend on the wind and animals to pollinate the corn. But if they have low wind or activity in the corp at the time needed to pollinate, it can mean a not so great season for them.
However, when working in smaller spaces we can give it a hand! This is one of the other reasons planting in small block rows works really well. It will allow you to reach all of the corn so that you can hand pollinate. Don’t worry, it is not as hard as one might think.
First, let’s understand what is needed for pollination of corn. Around the same time you see little fringe rice looking things show up on the tassels you will also see the silk strings coming out of the ears of corn.
These two things need to come in contact with each other to pollinate. BUT it needs to be from other stalks of corn! So, the rice looking things at the top (aka anthers) need to come in contact with the silk strings of ANOTHER stalk of corn and not the same plant it came off of.
Ok, back to the hand pollinating part. To do this and to help mother nature out is easy. Simply walk through your corn area and touch the tops of the tassels with your hands to get the pollen on them. Then take that same hand and touch the silks of the ears of corn across from that stalk. Be sure to make your way through all of your stalks.
You will need to do this every day for around a week. You will know when to stop as the silks will start to turn brown.
One thing to note is that you can only do this on dry days. There will be no pollen on the anthers if it is wet out. So if you miss a day due to wet weather, that is ok.
5. Protecting From Pests
This one can be tricky. I mean everyone loves fresh produce including pests. Depending on the area of your garden, there are a few things you can do. If it is on the smaller size, think about fencing it in or even putting netting around it.
If you have outside animals such as dogs, try to plant near them (as long as it is sunny) or even move the dogs near the garden. They will help to keep away wild animals. You may also want to check out How To Keep Rabbits Out and How To Keep Deer Out for even more tips.
6. Be Sure To Provide With Enough Water
Another tip to grow corn is to make sure that it has water. In the middle of the summer, rain may not be as often as we like. So you may need to do a little watering on your own.
One great way to do this and not use up a lot of water is to collect water in rain barrels. Then on those days, you do not get rain, you can give your garden a nice drink!
7. The Best Time To Harvest
Now for the last tip! When you should harvest your corn. You want to be sure that it is fully ripe so that it tastes good and you get the most from it. But you also want to pick as soon as it is ripe as it will lessen chances of something else getting to it before you do!
Corn is ready to be picked when it has brown silk and is dark green and fat. They will be more rounded and less pointed when they are ready to be harvested. You can also give a slight squeeze test and normally feel how thick it is.
After you have looked at them and are pretty sure they are ready to be picked, pull one ear off. Then remove the husk and pinch one kernel. If it is milky then you are good to go!