Friday, April 3, 2009


Varieties I am trying this year include Stowell's Evergreen Sweet Corn, This is among the oldest sweet corn that is still in production, predating 1949. It is still a favorite of many, producing tasty white kernels. The plants used to be pulled up when completely ripe, and hung upside-down in a cool pantry; the ears would last well into the winter, in a semi-fresh state. In 1873, the seeds sold for 25 cents per pint. True Gold Sweet Corn, Attractive ears are filled with sweet, yellow kernels that have a fine flavor. This newer open-pollinated corn is becoming a favorite of gardeners everywhere. Productive 75-day corn that is a great home and market variety
[baby.corn2.jpg]- Chires Baby Corn . picke fresh and put into stir-fries and soups. This variety produces up to 20 tiny ears on its multi-stalked plants; pick just after the silk shows at the tips of ears, or let mature for popcorn!

Growing facts:
Plant your corn in full sun and well after any risk of frost. corn, does not transplant well, so direct seed is best. Your corn should receive at least eight hours of sunlight a day. Soil temperatures should be about 60 degrees F for proper germination, and slightly higher for the super sweet varieties. Generally, May and June are good months to plant. soil should drain well , or kernels may rot if the soil doesn’t dry well and they stay too wet. It is always a good idea to add organic compost to your soil. This will balance out drainage and other factors like pH which should be around 6.0 to 6.5. To raise the pH if it is low you can add the powdered limestone during fall so that your soil will be ready by the next growing season Water well after planting, and again two to four days later if there has been no rain.

Corn roots are extensive, reaching as deep as 6 to 7 feet in the soil, and thoroughly spreading throughout the upper 2 feet or so in the soil. Finer roots have more area for their weight than larger-diameter roots, so are more efficient at moving into soil and taking up water and nutrients

Cross-pollination can occur between different varieties of Corn, affecting taste, color, and other qualities. To prevent this, isolate each type by at least 700 feet, about 300 meters {or allow at least 14 days between times of maturity.}

Do not plant sooner than 10 days to 2 weeks after the date of the last killing frost. If you plant too early, your seedlings may die or their growth can be delayed.Since Corn is wind pollinated, it's better to plant 4 or more short, side-by-side rows than 1 or 2 long rows. This will help pollination and ear development .Plant your seeds approximately one inch deep and space them about a foot apart in each row.

Organic corn is free of pesticides that suppress the immune system, accumulate to toxic levels, and can trigger allergic reactions. Organic corn has significantly more antioxidants than other corn: 58.5 percent more. Organic corn also has a lower environmental impact. It uses less water to grow, causes less runoff, and requires uses no petroleum based fertilizers to grow (which cuts oil consumption).

  • Corn borer — This moth's larvae feeds on all above-ground tissues of the plant. The cavities they produce interfere with the translocation of water and nutrients, thus reducing the strength of both the stalk and the ear shank. Some methods of control include using a pest-resistant variety, destroying infected stalks at the end of the season, and harvesting early before the moths have a chance to lay eggs.
  • Corn earworm Larvae right adult left— These caterpillars feed on the tips of the ears of Corn, devouring the kernels and sometimes even destroying the silks before pollination has completed. This results in deformed ears that are susceptible to disease and mold. They can be controlled with Bt, a natural bacteria that produces toxic proteins that kill certain insects. You can also till in fall and spring to expose pupae to wind, weather, and predators, release beneficial insects such as trichogramma wasps, lacewings, minute pirate bugs, and damsel bugs, or use botanical insecticides (always read instructions and cautions before use). To control corn earworms, some people apply a couple drops of mineral oil on the silk. Apply it after pollination. The mineral oil suffocates the earworms.
  • Smut Corn smut is caused by a fungus, and it can be removed by hand and buried or burned. Since the spores can get into your Corn through injured parts of the plant, try to avoid injury of roots, stalks, and leaves during cultivation. Also, plant disease-resistant varieties when possible, and at the end of the season, plow diseased stalks to bury any surviving spores.
  • Stewart's disease (bacterial wilt) — This disease is caused by a bacteria that's transmitted by several insects, namely the flea beetle, which will over winter and spread the disease once it starts feeding on the new year's crop. To control it, plant disease-resistant plants whenever possible, eliminate or discourage the presence of flea beetles, and don't use seeds that were produced in a field contaminated with Stewart's wilt.
  • Flea beetle - Flea beetles, so named for their tendency to jump when disturbed, love Corn. They produce a characteristic injury to leaves known as "shot-holing." Young plants and seedlings are particularly susceptible to this damage. You can use Seven Dust or organic Neem oil to control them.
NASTURTIUMS worked well at keeping away the Corn borer for me last year.

beans, cucumber, white geranium, lamb's quarters, melons, morning glory, parsley, peanuts, peas, potato, pumpkin, soybeans, squash and sunflower.

3 sisters method
A classic example is to grow climbing beans up corn while inter-planting pumpkins or . squash The corn provides a natural trellis for the beans, pumpkins smother the weeds and helps corn roots retain moisture.
Corn is a heavy feeder and the beans fix nitrogen from air into the soil. The beans do not feed the corn will it is growing but when the bean plants die back they return nitrogen to the soil that was used up by the corn. A win-win situation. Another interesting helper for corn is the weed Pig's Thistle which raises nutrients from the subsoil to where the corn can reach them.
Keep corn away from celery and tomato plants.

1 comment:

Carla said...

Why no corn near tomatoes?
I think baby corn would be fun, let me know how you harvest and use yours.
I'm 'three sistering' our corn, just waiting for the corn to get a little bigger. I won't be saving seeds this year, so I'm not concerned with cross pollinating, the 14 day rule is good to know.