Corn, also known as Maize, is a versatile crop. Compared with other American crops, corn has incredibly high returns, and you can grow it anywhere in the country. But if you are a resident of the Great Plains, you are in good luck.
Corn is a popular crop, and it is also one of the world’s dominant crops. Besides serving as a meal for humans and food for livestock, corn is also used as a crude material in manufacturing industrial solvents, charcoal, and so on.
If you are a corn-lover yourself and you are thinking about growing your own crops, the following tips will help you to grow a ton of sweet corn:
Plant Corn When it is Warm
The thing about corn is that it doesn’t like to grow outside of its comfort range.
Corn likes to grow in a hot climate, specifically when the days are consistently between 21 to 30 degrees Celsius. So, no matter what climate you live in – if you decide to grow corn, grow it at the warmest time of the year. However, if you live in the tropics, you can grow corn all year, but it is recommended to plant corn during the driest season for best results.
The bottom line is to grow corn when the weather warms up, and keep in mind that it might take up to 12 weeks of growing time, which is through the hottest time of the year.
If you live in a cool climate, don’t plant the corn too late; else, the crops will be ripening as the winter hits. Also, if you live in a cooler climate and plant the corn too early, the seedlings will suffer while establishing in soil that is less than 10 Celsius degrees.
Prepare the Soil
To successfully harvest the corn crop, you will need to prepare the soil and even use fertilizer. Light and free-draining soil full of organic matter is the perfect ground for corn to grow.
This kind of soil tends to heat up early after the winter season is over, and it also enables the corn’s roots to get a good foothold, grow down, and stabilize the plant better.
The root system of the corn crop is shallow, which is terrible for two primary reasons:
- It makes the corn plant inherently unstable and easy to fall over.
- It tends to struggle in dry conditions when it doesn’t get sufficient water.
We recommend trying to plant your corn patch in a protected position, where high winds cannot reach them; else, the corn plants will struggle to stay upright, and the pollination of the corn plants won’t be as good as you want them to be.
If you live in a windy region, you might want to be strategic about the positioning of the corn plants. For instance, you might want to position the corn plants in the middle of your veggie garden, surrounded by other vegetable beds, and perhaps an orchard on the other side.
Use the Right Fertilizer
Ideally, the corn beds are prepared with horse manure, mulch, and compost at least three months before planting corn. After applying the fertilizer, leave the bed to rest before planting or sowing the corn seeds. By doing so, you will get better results than if you were to fertilize the beds at the time of planting.
If you wonder why fertilizing earlier works so well with corn, it is mainly because corn is essentially a species of grass. And just like the grass of your lawn, if you were to throw a whole heap of nitrogen fertilizer at it – it will respond well and grow really long and lush.
But the thing about corn is that you wouldn’t want it to grow really fast and leggy because it won’t be able to support itself, and it won’t grow those nice, big, thick, and delicious cobs that it should as the untimely fertilizer makes it shoot up too fast.
Sow the Seeds Properly
When it comes to sowing seeds, you might want to sow them directly into the garden bed. Perhaps, it is a good idea to sow more than you usually need – just in case pests get to the corn, such as rodents and rats might dig up the seeds. It is also a good idea to use Sandhill treated seeds to keep the corn bed free of Sandhill cranes.
Or, the corn might simply fail to come up due to seed viability, so sowing more seeds than needed might be a good idea. This way, you can thin the seedling out if needed rather than trying to sow more later.
People who live in the cooler regions sow seed containers first and then plant the corn out – when the conditions are favorable. This is also an efficient way of starting corn and getting amazing results. Corn is perfect for sowing in containers first before they are planted out.
In fact, this is a good way of sowing corn as you can plant the corn a little deeper and enable it to grow extra roots and become a little more secure in the ground against the wind.
Tip for Succession Planting
Another tip related to sowing the corn is succession planting. Now, if you want to succession plant or grow corn a few weeks apart so that it doesn’t all mature at once and you have to deal with a big glut of produce – you can harvest the corn as the plants mature.
Succession planting is ideally done in a region with a long growing season where you can prevent the corn from going into winter. Also, during succession planting, make sure to plant the corn on the side that gets the most sun, and the new crops won’t get shaded out by the big, long, and tall plants that have already started growing and hence are well ahead of the younger plants
The Best Spacing for Corn
The best spacing for corn is about a foot or 30 centimeters apart. It is not recommended to grow really close together because all that corn will then rob each other of light, water, and nutrients, which will cause the growth of smaller plants and eventually smaller cobs of corn.