Sweet Corn in raised beds in OK City area

moorebaileeJanuary 18, 2011


I have read a number of posts about the varieties of sweet corn that grow well in oklahoma, this is my first attempt.

I have pretty much decided on Triple Sweet and Kandy Korn unless your feedback changes my mind.

I am attempting to do this in a 10 ft by 10 ft raised bed. I haven't been able to find much info on planting corn in raised beds in Oklahoma. What I've read is, that the corn rows can be planted 18 inches apart rather than 36 inches, and each seed 3-4 inches apart.

With these figures, this comes out to 7 rows with 30 seeds in a row. I am aware of the 4 row minimum for pollination.

If i plant 7 rows but 15 seeds in length with Triple Sweet (79 days)and the last half (15 seeds) with Kandy Korn (90 days), is that enough for each group to pollinate?

Am I better off just planting one kind in the whole bed? Any other thoughts, experiences with planting sweet corn in raised beds? Thanks in advance for your time and input.

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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Before I try to answer your question, I have one of my own, and the answer to it will determine how I answer your question.

There are several types of sweet corn, and some of them must be isolated from the others so they do not cross-pollinate one another, thereby ruining the corn. One of those types is known as the triplesweet type of corn. However, I've never seen or heard of a variety named Triple Sweet. So, when you refer to your corn, do you mean it is one of the triplesweet corn varieties, or do you mean it is named "Triple Sweet". This sounds nitpicky, but it is a very important question.

So, if you'll answer my question, I'll do my best to answer yours.

And, by the way, you don't have to plant corn in a raised bed if you don't want to. I've planted it both ways and I get virtually the same results from corn planted in raised beds as from corn planted at grade level (and my grade level garden area is barely-improved clay, while the raised beds are highly improved).


    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:45PM
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I grew Honey Select in raised beds twice, once in the fall two years ago, and this past spring/summer. I think the bigger plants could use more space than what I usually do in raised beds. 18 inches seems good within rows. I have tried rows 30 inches apart, and also tried a couple of rows 18 inches, then 36 inches between them and the next two close rows to get them a bit more sun and so I can move down next to each row.

I can't really recommend any specific spacing because so much of it depends on soil and corn variety. One thing I do that you might consider is that if I am going to plant a lot more seed than final plants, I like to plant 2 seeds about 3 inches apart at each space and then thin by pulling one of them and leaving the better plant. This gives me a good final spacing and makes it easier to decide which ones to thin. My germination is usually good enough that I almost never have any skips from this.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 10:47PM
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Yes, Okie Dawn I was confused, didn't read my notes well enough. I think I would like to try the Serendipity of the Triplesweet group. If my understanding is correct, Triplesweet varieties do not need isolation from the SE Kandy Korn. It says Serendipity is 82 days.

I have memories of eating wonderful Kandy Korn in my younger years, and am dying to try to grow that. Maybe there is another SE or Triple Sweet variety that you think would be a better companion in the same bed or?

We are trying our gardening venture on someone else's property, they are helping with the work and expense, and they will have the final say about raised beds or digging the clay....still discussing that issue. We are feeling a little pressure to make a decision soon! lol

Thanks Scott for your suggestion of Honey Select.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 12:14AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7

I thought that probably was the case, but wasn't sure because it wouldn't surprise me if some seed company named a variety "Triple Sweet" just to confuse us all. The seed companies do stuff like that all the time.

I've grown both Kandy Korn (an SE type)and Serendipity (a Triplesweet or Synergystic type), and probably even in the same year and had no problem with them crossing because those types don't have to be isolated from one another. I've also grown Honey Select. I like all three, but Serendipity was my favorite in terms of flavor.

Spacing is tricky, as Scott noted, because of variations in soil and climate. The better the quality of your soil, in terms of it being highly fertile, the closer you can plant and still get a crop.

When I planted in raised beds, I planted the plants (any variety, no matter the type) 12" apart in all directions. That was my choice because I wanted the most ears possible and I got a good yield because the soil in the raised bed was highly enriched with tons of organic matter like compost and cow manure. However, with closely-spaced plants, your ears likely will be smaller.

When I plant at grade-level, I use slightly farther spacing, maybe 15-18" in-between plants in the same row, but still with rows spaced about 12-15" apart. I'd rather plant more plants and get more ears, even if they are smaller, than plant further apart and get fewer but larger ears. That is because all my corn has to be planted inside a fenced area with a 7' tall fence to keep the deer out of it. If I could just plow up a section of land that wasn't fenced and plant corn without losing it all to the deer, I'd follow the recommended spacing of both rows and distance between plants in the rows.

I usually don't plant the second variety, the one with the longer days-to-maturity, until the first variety is about knee-high. There's a reason for that and it is to keep them from pollinating at the same time. Sometimes, when you try to use staggered planting dates, the corn planted later is growing in warmer soil so it "catches" up with the corn planted earlier, especially if there's just a couple of weeks difference in their days-to-maturity numbers, which are just estimates anyway.

Even though you don't have to isolate the two varieties you're growing (great job of doing your research and figuring that out, by the way!), you might want to stagger the planting dates a little bit anyway....by maybe 3 or 4 weeks or by planting the second corn when the first is knee-high. Why? Well, how much corn do you want at one time? Will you be canning or freezing it? If not, will you be harvesting more than you can eat in a reasonable time frame? By staggering the planting times, you spread out the harvest. By the time you're through harvesting and eating the Kandy Korn, your later planting of Serendipity will be about ready to pick. That's what you call perfect timing.

I am growing 4 varieties this year and probably will plant two early (in different fenced areas) and then two later on once the early varieties are knee-high (in the same two fenced areas about 3 weeks later). Even though I'm prepared to freeze or can a lot of it, I don't want to have to harvest and process 4 kinds of corn all at once.


    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 6:40AM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Does anyone have a link to a good for-dummies on corn crossing? I've got Seed to Seed for the seed saving, of course, but something for just eating, please? I won't save (corn) for seed this year, just want to conquer growing for fresh eating right now. I assumed that all corn crosses but then you mentioned that some of the don't? I'm googling but a point in the right direction would be cool.

Told ya I'm a corn dummy! This was so easy at the old house. I grew one kind at a time and I knew that no one else grew corn within miles of me. Here, I live smack in the middle of corn fields. LOL


    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 10:59AM
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Okiedawn OK Zone 7


It gets more complicated all the time because they keep finding no ways to give us more kinds of corn.

It was a lot easier when all we had were the SU types.

I think the attached link explains it pretty well.

It may be hard to grow corn there without crossing. It would help if the folks who grow corn closest to you would tell you if they're growing triplesweet, se, su, etc.


Here is a link that might be useful: All About Corn

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 5:00PM
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owiebrain(5 MO)

Field corn and regular sweet corn is about where my corn growing experience was stunted. LOL Thanks for the link. No wonder I'm so stinking lost!


    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 5:23PM
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