Are corns difficult to grow? It may surprise you to know that it is easy to grow corn in your garden. If you are fond of having this food on your table, then maybe it is about time to learn to grow your own.
There are just some knowledge you need to have first before planting corn, such as;
- They need warm soil. You should not plant corn during the cold weather cause corn grows in warm temperatures, so it will not thrive when there is a snowfall.
- We should plant corn in blocks and not in single rows, and soil temperature must be over 60 degrees Fahrenheit. You should not plant them in bulk, but instead, plant your first round this week and then plant another round, a couple of weeks later.
- Corn should be 1.5 to 2 inches deep in the soil and then must be 4 to 6 inches apart with rows spaced 30 to 40 inches apart. Mind the distance as well, if you want to grow different varieties of corn. They should be planted apart.
- Sometimes, cross-pollination happens, and this causes an unfavorable result.
- It is ideal to soak corn seeds overnight so germination will take place faster. When they are already planted, ensure that their water needs are being provided.
- Use soil that is compost or manure ready and soil that is not soaked in water.
- Just like any other plant, corn needs sunlight to grow fully. You should place them where they can get enough of it, as this will help in their growth speed.
- Watering your corn for an inch every week is ideal. If there is not enough water during the first phase of corn growing, you will find your corn missing kernels. Applying water to the soil surface is the key instead of using a sprayer from above.
- Weeds can be the enemy of corn, so be sure to remove weeds soon as you notice them creeping on the soil, you can also apply mulch to help prevent weeds from growing.
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Problems That You Can Encounter When Growing Corn
Just like other plant varieties, corn can also have diseases, and there can be pests attacking them. Preventing such problems from happening is what you should watch out for.
These pests can stunt the growth of your corn as it drains the sap from the leaves. They also leave sticky substances on the leaves that may cause mold to develop, which is another problem for your corn.
When there are also weeds around the soil, aphids can also get attracted to those. The easiest way to remove these aphids is by a blast of water and a bit of neem oil spray so they will not come back to infest your plants again.
These so-called “worms” are seed eaters that will kill emerging young plants before they can even fully grow.
They usually attack at night while hiding in the soil during the daytime.
You can protect your corn by surrounding your plant stem with a tin foil necklace so the cutworms cannot get closer to the seedlings.
There are also available products in the market that you can use to spray on the worms to eliminate them for good.
Caterpillars Or European Corn Borer (Ostrinia Nubilalis)
These pests will leave your corn stalks chewed and munched inside. They will leave your cob hollow, plus they will eat on the stems as well.
Your corn will not have a chance with them around. Some products are available to control them.
These pests will leave your plants yellowing and wilting. They will start to eat off of the stems and then slowly kill your plants in the process.
Although Cucumber Beetles favor cucumber, pumpkin, and watermelons, they are also fond of eating corn if available.
They are not just plant killers, but also disease spreaders.
They will leave your plants with holes, especially on emerging seedlings. They can finish your plant in no time without giving your corn a chance to grow.
There are sprays available in the market while other homeowners try some homemade flea beetles sprayer.
They can be the worst garden feeder. They are very resourceful and can finish your plants in a few rob.
They can also eat anything starting from corn, potatoes, peas, and other fruits.
Raccoons can be your usual garden guest cause it is an easy source of food for them, plus there is a ready source of water they can enjoy.
These species eats corn leaves and their foliage, and your corn will have no chance to grow as the grasshopper slowly feed on the leaves available to them. It is fitting to use commercial traps to lure them out and stop them from attacking the corn plants.
Crows And Birds
Your seedlings may not have a chance to fully grow as the seeds are pulled out and eaten by birds and crows. Best to place a bird block or cover the planting till they have grown at a certain size.
Diseases You Have To Watch Out For When Growing Your Corn
Fungus and Rust
You will find rusty spots on your corn leaves, and they are called Puccinia sorghi. It does not look good, and you’ll know that your plant is not healthy. This disease usually loves to attack sweet corn variety, but you can control this disease by using fungicide spray that is also out in the market.
Another disease that can affect your corn. This is a fungus that gives the corn leaves gray spots or tan lesions that if left untreated can kill the entire leaves.
Another corn plant-killing fungus. Will leave your plant with necrotic lesions with rotting stalks. When there is humid weather, this fungus thrives.
By being mindful of the appearance of your corn plants, you can prevent such disease from killing your entire corn plant.
This disease is spread by beetles. Your corn will get infected as it spreads the virus from plants to plants. You need to remove already infected plants before they spread to the rest of your plants. It is advisable not to touch healthy plants after you touched an ear of infected corn.
Another bacterial disease where the vascular system of the plant is left with slime. The plant will slowly die as it stops growing and wilts, eventually.
16 Tips For Successful Corn-Growing
- You must pick the right soil to plant your corn. It must be moist, well-drained, and have enough organic matter or aged compost. There should also be enough sun that the corn will require.
- Pick the right time to do the planting, or else your corn will not emerge because of cold and damp soil. There should be enough warmth in the soil.
- Using nitrogen-rich cottonseed or soybean meal is ideal. Insufficient nitrogen in the soil may cause yellow leaves while tassels are forming.
- Watch out for phosphorous deficiency, and this will leave purple margins on the corn leaves, and it may stunt the growth.
- Using raised beds or mounds as this will help your corn grow fast.
- It requires enough space as you plant your corn. You can either use short, multiple rows or blocks that are 15 inches apart. Plant corn when the soil has a 60 to 2degree Fahrenheit temperature.
- Do not plant them close together cause this will cause small-eared corn.
- Plant just enough so that the pollen from male tassels will be distributed evenly and will not cause a shriveled kernel or incomplete kernel development.
Caring for your Corn
- Watering your corn regularly is the key, but you must not get the plants soaked up, and 1.5 to 2 inches of water is enough every week. Using mulch is also perfect as this will keep the soil moisture intact.
- Applying water at the surface of the soil is the best way to water your corn instead of spraying water above. This will cause the pollen from the flowering tops to get washed out.
- Inadequate water may cause the leaf edges to roll inwards as it leaves the plant with not enough moisture.
- Check on your plants every day and ensure that you are on the lookout for pests and disease as well as weeds. We also consider weeds “pests” as it competes with the nutrition that is supposed to be for your corn plants.
Your corn harvest
- When you notice your corn tassels are turning brown and cobs are swelling, this is the best time to harvest your corn as they are milky and they will taste perfect.
- You can also pierce a kernel and check for ripeness. If there is the presence of milky liquid on the kernel, then this shows that it is at its prime ripeness and is ready for harvest.
- Usually, it occurs between 18-20 days after tasseling.
- You only need to grab the ear, twist and pull in a downward motion and snap quickly.
You can either eat the harvested corn soonest time or preserve them immediately after picking.