would like to attempt corn - could use help

cottentop(7)July 17, 2014

I've tried growing corn once before, with no luck. BUT, I'm going to try again and I see that mid-July is a good time to plant corn. With that in mind, I'm looking for any tips & advice on how to increase chances of success.

I'm not sure what variety to grow and where to get seeds. In my past gardening adventures, I've simply picked up plants at the local Lowes but I realize this limits my options for plants and varieties. Any suggestions for corn?

How many plants, at a minimum, should I plant?

Are there any other tips for the beginning gardner for corn?

we live just outside of the OKC area. Thanks in advance!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The recommendation for corn is a minimum of four rows in a block. More is even better. We plant 6 or 8 fifty foot rows. I am just now harvesting sweet corn and the meal corn is just past pollen shed, so I don't know how well a late planting will do. Someone else will help with that, I'm sure. I do know that corn is a very heavy feeder especially of nitrogen. And if you want a very sweet corn, you can't go wrong with Kandy Corn. We like to thin ours to stand 14-16" apart in rows 14" inches apart but with a walking path between beds with 2 rows in each bed. So the rows across the path come out to be 3 feet apart. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 5:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

Dorothy already mentioned planting in blocks, which is probably the thing many new gardeners most often fail to do. It has to be in blocks to ensure your ears are filled with tasty kernels. When I see a single row of corn running down the side of a garden, it makes me sad to think of what poor ears they'll get with a planting like that. Corn is wind-pollinated, so you plant in a block so every ear can get pollen from the plants around it.

Plant it as soon as possible so your ears have time to mature before the first freeze of autumn. So, for this planting, you'll be restricted to whatever seed you can find on the seed racks since it already is past the recommended planting date of 7/15, and you don't have time to order seed and wait for it to arrive.

Pretty much any variety of corn will grow here, so it really is all about selecting a variety that will have the flavor you like. Older varieties tend to have more of a true corn flavor whereas newer varieties have been bred for more sweetness. You can choose whichever appeals to you. For fall corn, you're always just crossing your fingers and hoping this isn't the autumn that comes with an extra early first frost or freeze so that the corn will have time to mature.

We tend to grow both the supersweet and triplesweet types and they're all good. We also grow the older varieties that have more of a corn flavor and less of a sugary-sweet flavor. The older varieties we like include Country Gentleman/Shoepeg corn, Texas Honey June, Silver Queen and Merit. We like the Kandy Korn that Dorothy mentioned, and one called "How Sweet it Is" is really outstanding. In the spring, I often plant one called Early Sunglow because it has a really short DTM. The plants are small and the ears are small compared to corn varieties that take 3 weeks or more longer to mature, but I like that we can harvest Early Sunglow before Memorial Day from a late March planting. You can make life more interesting by planting Ruby Queen, which has red kernels, or Jade Blue which matures from green to blue.

Your main corn pest will be corn earworms, but they might not find you the first year you grow corn, especially if you don't have any other home gardeners or farms really close to your place.

I'm going to link an OSU fact sheet that lists vegetable varieties recommended for Oklahoma, but there's tons of great varieties that aren't on that list, so don't be afraid to pick up a pack of seeds at a nursery or garden center. In July you cannot be too picky because seeds often are mostly sold out and picked over.


Here is a link that might be useful: OSU Recommended Vegetable Varieties

    Bookmark   July 17, 2014 at 6:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

By the way, selling corn in six packs is pretty close to being a scam, in my book. It's terrible, awful, no good and very bad; as the buyer is absolutely wasting money by purchasing corn this way. Planting the seed directly will give you better, stronger plants, which will in no way lag behind those transplanted from a six pack. They are probably something like a hundred times cheaper, per plant, purchased as seed, than as plants. And, as you have already mentioned, there is far more variety available for seed than transplants. The same goes for cucumbers and cantaloupe.

People new to gardening are often intimidated by the idea of starting from seed. But it's not that hard. By all means I would encourage new gardeners to voice their questions, here, and we will gladly help.

Tahlequah, OK

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
mksmth zone 6b Tulsa Oklahoma(6b)

i harvested the last of my spring corn crop late last week. I re-sowed an early variety last sunday. I cant remember the name right now but it supposed to mature in 60 ish days. I noticed they started coming up already.

George I agree. I would never buy starts of corn from the store. They are way to easy to direct sow. Now I would start my own earlier if I had the room to do so.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One thing that I do that seems to help me is plan a short row for transplanting only. I have a major crow problem and they like to pull the small corn up and eat the seed. They don't seem to bother it as bad after it gets 4 or 5 inches tall. Where the crows have eaten my seed I take post hole diggers and remove a plug and sit it aside and then get a plug from my transplant row and stab it into the corn row. This would be too much trouble with a large garden, but works fine on a small garden like mine. The rows then look straight, even and about the same size. After I get all my spaces filled in I chop down my extra transplants. Mater of fact, I transplant a lot of different plants with posthole diggers.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 2:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Okiedawn OK Zone 7

George, I agree that corn (and other things like beans and peas) are a scam when sold as transplants. It isn't necessary as they all sprout so easily from seed anyhow, and it is really expensive compared to buying and planting a pack of seeds.

Larry, I use several methods to trick crows.

1) In the fall, I plant some extra garlic cloves in the area where I'll be sowing corn seed in the spring. It will sprout and grow and the crows will be used to seeing it there. I assume they likely check it out at some point and know it isn't corn, but I've never found any of it pulled out of the ground. The crows never pull up corn plants that come up in a bed with garlic already growing in it.

2) In late winter when I transplant onion plants into the ground, I put some of them in the future corn patch. Works the same as with the garlic. When the corn sprouts later, the crows don't bother it.

3) When it is time to plant corn, I mow whatever grass we have. Most years we overseeded with rye, so it is green, but it doesn't matter. Clippings of dead grass work as well as green clippings. I sow the seeds and lightly scatter grass clippings all over the ground---not deeply. Just enough to hide the bare soil. I think the corn plants sprouting in brown ground are really obvious to crows, but corn plants sprouting in the middle of grass clippings likely look like green grass sprouting in fields of dead or dormant grass.

I have used the above methods for years and haven't lost a corn plant to crows since I started using them. However, I also put out cracked corn for the doves to eat, and the crows eat some of that too, so maybe they just lack the incentive to search my garden for corn sprouts.

I know that most gardeners don't care for crows, but our chickens free-range all day long and the crows chase away hawks and other predators endlessly, so it pays off for us to have a friendly relationship with our local crows.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 3:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Dawn, thanks for the tips. I doubt I will be able to grow corn again because it too hard to deal with the stalks, but if I do, I want to try some of those tips.

Because I don't have chickens I had rather have hawks, owls, and coyotes to help control the smaller critters.

I don't have a cat, but I would like to have one if I did not live on this busy highway.


    Bookmark   July 18, 2014 at 4:33PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Lisa, did you see: Work starts to protect monarch butterflies
Their bright orange and black wings are a familiar...
Seedy Saturday Seed Swap
Seedy Saturday Seed Swap. February 28, 2015 When I...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™