Growing Organic Corn


INTERESTING CORN FACTS

Throughout a lot of the world, corn is called Maize (appears like mays). The Aztecs and Mayans (S. America) had been growing corn before it made it's method to European countries in the 15th century.

In N. America, industrial farmers favor growing corn over any additional crop by around dual.

Among the oldest types of corn are snacks. Popcorn within New Mexico and offers been dated to around 3600 B.C.

Sweet corn is certainly eaten as a veggie frequently (think "corn-on-the-cob), while Field Corn is typically what's grown commercially for animal feed and ethanol.

WHEN TO PLANT

You can begin planting and growing sweet corn in regards to a week after the last frost or when the soil temperature is approximately 60°F.

In colder areas, you can warm the soil by putting plastic over your planting area at least weekly before planting. Make use of dirt around the edges to maintain plastic in place.

Most types of corn won't germinate if soil heat is beneath 50°F. If planted prematurely ., you may finish up with spindly, deformed stalks or risk your seedlings becoming killed if a frost takes place.

Within the North, we wait before the end of May and when the weather is about a warming trend; at least 70°F airflow temperature in your day and no less than 50°F during the night).

In the South, corn could be planted as soon as February or March if the climate is right.

If the ground continues to be wet, wait to plant. Corn seed sown in chilly, moist soil is susceptible to fungal disease.

Pre-sprouting seeds is preferred in Northern climates since it increases germination just as much as 50% in our experience. If you live in an area with a short growing season, you could also need to consider developing an early-maturing, short-period hybrid. Hybrids are not recommended though if you are planning to save seeds.

Cross-pollination of different types can cause rough, starchy kernels. Due to this, we suggest planting only 1 variety.

What if you would like a longer corn harvest? Rather than planting early, mid-season, and late varieties and risking starchy kernels, we recommend planting your favorite variety every 2 weeks or when three to four leaves have appeared on the seedlings in the previous planting. You can continue re-planting up to 6 weeks.

WHERE TO PLANT

Plant your corn completely sun with some safety from the wind when possible. Plant corn in the North part of the garden, therefore, the tall corn plant life won't color out the others of your garden.

Alternately, in case you have plants that require partial shade through the hotter parts of the summertime, position your corn to safeguard those crops from an excessive amount of sun.

Corn is a heavy nitrogen feeder, so it will thrive in a region where nitrogen-fixing plants such as beans, peas, clover, or alfalfa grew the previous season.

PREPARING YOUR SOIL

Soil nutrient levels must be ideal for plant and kernel development, disease resistance, flavor, and nutrition.

Sweet corn thrives best in deep, naturally wealthy, and easily worked soil with lots of organic matter. Nevertheless, any well-drained soil would work. Sandy soils are greatest for early crops since sandy soils warm-up faster in the spring than heavy soils.

Planning for next year's corn planting begins in the fall by first planting a cover crop of legumes or alfalfa for nitrogen-fixing; spade or rototill in your cover crop in the springtime.

Compared to various other crops, corn is normally a moderate to the weighty consumer of all nutrients, especially nitrogen.

Loosen the soil about 6 inches deep, utilizing a spade or garden fork. Split up the clods to insure good contact between the soil and the seed. Add generous levels of composted manure, compost and if required, lime; 1# of lime per 100 sq.ft. ought to be sufficient.

Generally, compost and/or chicken and cow manures (well-composted, not new) have their strongest influence on the corn crop if applied just before planting; make use of 20 to 30 pounds. per 100 sq.ft. Increase phosphorus levels with bone meal or blood food; these should be added during planting for immediate connection with the corn's roots.

Optimal pH levels for growing corn are 6.0 to 6.5.

DECIDING ON THE BEST SEED VARIETIES

Standard sweet corn varieties present traditional flavor and grow better in lower soil temperatures compared to the varieties below, but their glucose turns to starch quickly following harvest.
Sugar-improved varieties are sweeter and more tender than standard varieties, and super-sweets will be the sweetest of most but are less vigorous than other hybrids and need to have moist, warm soil to grow well.

If you reside in a location with a brief growing time of year, you might like to consider developing an early-maturing, short period hybrid. Hybrids aren't recommended though if you're likely to save seeds.

SEEDS AND GERMINATION

Nice corn requires warm soil for germination; the least 55°F for regular sweet corn types and about 65°F for super sweet varieties. The very best germination temperatures, nevertheless, are between 75° - 85°F; at these temps, corn seeds germinate in 3 to 4 days.

It's best to wait around until your soil heat has reached a reliable 60°F or over (70°F for super-nice corn) before planting to obtain the best germination results. For faster germination, warm the soil by within the planting area with plastic material 10-14 days sowing

Pre-sprouting Seeds: In cooler climates (like where we live), it is advisable to pre-sprout your corn seeds in a warm place (we do it in your kitchen).

Regulate how many seeds you will need for the area you would like to plant, soak the seeds in water, then place them in a jar or glass, then cover the seeds with a water-soaked rag or washcloth; rinse once or twice daily until the seeds have sprouted. At 70°F inside our house, the seeds sprout in about three to four 4 days.

Once the majority of the seeds are sprouted, plant them in your backyard immediately or the sprouts are certain to get too much time and break off very easily.

Once you have purchased corn seeds, they must be best for 2 years.

STARTING INDOORS (and transplanting)

Growing corn indoors is not a best practice because corn doesn't transplant very well, plus it grows rapidly in your garden; we contemplate it wasted effort.

However, if you were to think you need to plant indoors, plant in individual 4″ peat pots. When transplanting, make certain not to disturb the roots or the plant will die. Dig a hole, place the whole peat pot in the hole and back-fill up the dirt to the training collar of the corn plant (at the same level as it is usually in the peat pot).

PLANTING CORN SEED DIRECTLY IN YOUR GARDEN

Planting Fundamentals: seed depth: approx. 2″ (3″ in sandy soil) - seed spacing: 3″ to 4″ (we prefer to over-plant and slim our corn to 8″ to 12″ apart) - row width: 30″to 36″ (I love to plant rows 36″ apart, therefore, I will get my Troybilt Equine Tiller "Attiller the Hun" between your rows).

It's important never to crowd your vegetation as the corn ears will be smaller (or not form at all). Corn is wind-pollinated, therefore plant four or even more brief rows of lovely corn side-by-side rather than a couple of long rows. This will help ensure great pollination and ear advancement. Inadequate pollination outcomes in poorly-filled ears.

Cross-pollination of different types can cause tough, starchy kernels.
To avoid corn from cross-pollinating, corn varieties should be planted at least 250 feet from white types and 500 ft or more from other colored varieties.

Note: most of us don't possess that very much space or we've neighbors nearby growing corn so that it can be challenging to isolate different corn types by distance. If you are on good terms together with your gardening neighbors, you may see when you can match varieties.

So, what now? if you want an extended corn harvest? Instead of planting early, mid-season, and late varieties and risking starchy kernels, we suggest you plant your preferred variety every 14 days (or when 3 to 4 leaves have made an appearance on the seedlings in the last planting. You can continue re-planting up to 6 weeks.

We've been asked just how much corn to plant per person in your home - we estimate about 15 plant life per person for fresh sweet corn. If you want to scan and/or freeze corn, add another 30 or even more plants per person.

Jenny's Tip #1: Recently we found out a liquid organic leaf spray fertilizer (you spray your plants every fourteen days) called Organic Backyard Miracle™ that naturally stimulates your backyard vegetation to create more plant sugar. Plant sugar is why is your plant solid, production plants and fruit, and settings the flavor, sweetness, amount, and size of fruits your plant generates. And it includes a risk-free assurance that made us extremely comfortable trying it.

GROWING CORN

When the corn seedlings are 3-6" in. tall, thin to 1 plant per 8 to 12 inches, by cutting the undesirable seedlings at soil level or pulling them up if they are not too close collectively.

Hand-pollinating: If you would like to help your plants form complete ears of corn, hand-pollinating is one way to accomplish it; this means that each ear fills out totally. To pollinate, get the tassels and shake them to distribute the pollen to the silks below.

Another method is normally to gently shake the tassels into a small paper bag, collecting the pollen, after that sprinkle the pollen onto the emerging silks, repeating a few times over the next couple of days. This method takes a bit more time but functions very well.

Some nice corn varieties produce more aspect shoots or "suckers" than others. Removing these side shoots is frustrating and will not improve yields.

Side-gown the stalks with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer (such as well-composted pet manure) when plants possess 8-10 leaves, on the other hand when tassels appear.

Mulching: hill soil blended with compost around the base of the plant if they are 6" large. This will anchor the plant life and keep carefully the roots protected and cool.

Weeding: If you are using a rototiller like I do, keep in the least 6″ from your own plant's base. Hand-draw any weeds that are nearer, and if they're too large and too close to the bottom of your plants, particularly if they're small, lower them off instead of pulling them.

WATERING

Although corn is a warm-weather crop, too little water at crucial periods can seriously affect the development of the ears and reduce yield. If rainfall is sparse, be certain to drinking water your crop thoroughly (1 to at least one 1.5 inches weekly) when the tassels emerge, so when the ears and silk shows up.

Push your finger into the soil to check on for moisture. If you feel the soil dry a lot more than 1" down, the plants want to be watered. Sandy soils may necessitate more regular watering. The roots of the Corn plant can be found near to the stalks. Additionally, it is an extremely shallow root system, consequently when watering; place the water source close to the base of every stalk to make certain the roots can absorb the water.

If you grow squash amidst the corn hills, its leaves will become a living mulch, nonetheless, it will also contend with the corn for dampness, thus soaking the soil well when you drinking water and check moisture amounts more often. Drip irrigation applies moisture to the soil; overhead watering can clean pollen off corn plants.

An indicator of over-watering is when leaves turn pale green or yellowish and fall off, the plants grow poorly, and spindly stems begin to flop over. Quit watering before plants go back to normal health.

COMPANION PLANTING / ROTATION

Plant corn, as well as pole coffee beans and vine crops, want cucumbers, squash, and pumpkins. Pole beans and vine crops planted on the sunny part of a row of corn will develop up the stalks, and offer stability for both vegetation.

Pigweed thistle raises nutrition from the subsoil to where the corn can easily reach them.

Bad Companions: Preserve corn at least 20 feet from tomato plant life; tomatoes and corn are attacked by the same worm.

Rotation Factors: Corn is much feeder; legumes (coffee beans, peas) repair nitrogen from the air into the soil when they start to die back. However, they don't feed the corn although it is growing.

Legumes must be planted while a cover crop the prior season in the equal location to advantage this year's corn.

HARVESTING CORN

Examine your stalks when the silks are brown and damp simply by poking a fingernail right into a kernel - it's prepared when the liquid that squirts out is usually milky. This stage occurs about 18 to 24 times following the appearance of the 1st silk strands. Lovely corn continues to be in the milk stage under a week.

Indicators that indicate the corn is set for harvest are drying and browning of the silks, fullness of the tip kernels, and firmness of the un-husked ears.

To harvest your corn, snap off the ears yourself with an instant but firm downward drive, twist and pull. Contain the stalk with the additional hand just above where the ear attaches to the stalk to avoid it from breaking.

In warmer temperatures, the sugar in lovely corn quickly decreases and the starch increases, building the flavor bland; the ears ought to be eaten, prepared or refrigerated as quickly as possible.

Cut or grab the cornstalks soon after harvest and place them in a compost pile.
Cut the stalks in a single foot lengths or shred them to greatly help increase the composting course of action. A pile of cornstalks remaining alone over winter is only going to be considered a pile of woody stalks in the spring.

STORAGE

For preservation of taste and sugar content material corn must be taken to 40°F within one hour from harvest or the sugars quickly begin to carefully turn to starch. The quickest method to do this is to provide the corn with an ice bath.

Corn only preserves good for about a week in the refrigerator; after selecting, utilize the sweet corn instantly for fresh consuming, canning, freezing, or dehydrating. For me, freezing sweet corn may be the best way to protect the flavor of corn.

PREVENTATIVE AND NATURAL ANSWERS TO COMMON PESTS AND PROBLEMS

PESTS: The most widespread pests are European corn borers and corn earworms.

Corn Borers: Corn borers are fleshed-colored worms, about 1" long with tiny black places. Once within the plant, they are tough to control.

European corn borers attack the stalk just underneath the tassels. Search for small holes with sawdust-like materials near the starting. Squeeze the stalk to destroy the borer.

Avoidance - Timing: by planting a week or two after the soil warms you may avoid enough time The borers emerge in the springtime.

Prevention - Other: preventative treatment such as the utilization of row addresses or milder normal sprays in the first stages, such as neem or pyrethrins to avoid having severe infestations.

Treatment - Handpicking: for little gardens hand-picking the larvae off the corn silk might work.

Treatment - Organic: Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) is a highly effective choice for organic control of a moderate infestation; granular Bt appears to work best.

Bt may also be utilized by mixing with veggie oil and then putting it on the corn silk 2-3 days following the silk has matured. That is effective, but Bt is effective for between 3 and seven days, then it should be reapplied.

Treatment - nonorganic: Rotenone can be utilized as a very final resort in serious infestations but it isn't recommended for organic gardening because of it's natural toxicity and injury to beneficial insects.

Corn Earworms: Corn earworms assault the tips of the ears when the plants start to tassel. If the harm is small, you can take off the suggestions of the ears after harvesting.

Corn earworm larvae vary greatly in color ranging in from light green or pink to darkish or nearly black. They have alternating light and dark stripes operating the length of your body. Double dark stripes can generally be seen down the guts of the trunk and the lower of the larva is normally light-colored.

Prevention - Corn Range: The easiest method to prevent corn earworm infestations is to select a corn variety that's resistant to the pest because of its tight husk.

Another preventative technique is to spray a little amount of a 20-to-1 mixture of Bt (Bacillus thuringiensis) and mineral essential oil to the silk at the ear suggestion just mainly because the silk starts to wilt.

Pet Pests: If your corn patch is small and critters (such as raccoons or birds) are invading your ears, try wrapping duct tape around every ear an inch over the stalk and an inch below the end to prevent access inside.

If your crop is bigger, using a power fence of several wires spaced 4" aside and starting 4" off the bottom can help detour these pests. Make sure to possess the fence setup before the corn is ripe; raccoons choose corn in the first stages of ripeness.

In case you have a doggie, kenneling your dog near the corn may also help with keeping animal pests away.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS

Dry spells could cause leaf harm. During dry intervals, mist the leaves a few times weekly with a sprinkler arranged on the mist establishing. If the ends of the leaves possess dried up, trim them off with some clean scissors simply by the end of the dry region without cutting into the healthy part.

Disease - Corn Smut: can be a fungus that may infect the plant through wounds due to cultivation, hail, or bugs. Additionally, it may infect recently developed silks. It is an irregular greenish-white outgrowth, filled up with dark spores. Although regarded as a delicacy in genuine Mexican plus some Chinese cooking, People in America generally usually do not find it appetizing.

No hybrid seed is immune to smut, but the majority of the resistant varieties will prevent this disease in your corn crop. Most of the generally used sweet corn varieties are vulnerable to Corn Smut disease. Nevertheless, the Light Sugary Enhancer types are even more resistant to smut than either the White or Bi-color Super-sweet types.

Years with warm and dry out early summers, accompanied by a rainy climate have a greater threat of smut disease developing in corn crops.

Prevention: Usually do not over-apply nitrogen-large compost. Soils too much in nitrogen have already been shown to boost the risk of disease.

Treatment: To regulate the fungus, remove any galls before the dark spores type inside. Burn or handbag and dispose of the diseased plant parts to avoid spreading the disease.

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