Space too small for corn??

heirloomjunkie(5a)January 12, 2011

I have been looking into this growing method for my garden this Spring. The book says that you can fit four corn plants in one square foot. Which is great.

But how many plants do you have to have total for them to pollinate correctly? I only have about 32 sq ft available. Will this be enough? Or should I scrap this idea?


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4ftx4ft area is minimum spacing for corn
4 corn plants per foot is only recommend for short corn varieties

    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 10:59AM
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Awesome. I have a 4x8 plot, and was really hoping to use it for corn. I am growing a larger variety, so I will plant accordingly.


    Bookmark   January 13, 2011 at 3:41PM
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eaglesgarden(6b - se PA)

When it tassels, I would suggest you still would want to do some manual fertilization (shaking the stalks) to ensure fuller ears. Do this on a fairly calm day, or else your pollen will just blow away, instead landing on the silks.

There is lots of information on manual pollination. It's not very hard, but failure to do so will probably result in spotty results for such a small patch.

- the voice of experience

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:00PM
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heirloomjunkie well if you use a full 4x8 bed a tall variety you will need to planted at a spacing of either 1 or 2 plants per square foot and a total of 32 or 64 plant respectively.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2011 at 12:18PM
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jwstell42(5 NY)

I always do a full 4X8 with corn, and do 2 plants per sqft.

Comes out pretty decent, with at least 1 ear, many times two ears per stalk.

Gives me around 100 ears per year, which is perfect for me.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 4:22PM
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I tried a 4x4 ft raised bed of sweet corn and got nothing-zilch. Which is actually kind of funny since not 150ft from my yard is a 50 acre cornfield that had incredible output. I also tried putting corn out in std rows with about as much success.

I think my main problem is the constant prevailing West winds I get not allowing for proper pollination of such a small plot of corn.

    Bookmark   January 16, 2011 at 10:52PM
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Awesome. I'm going to try it then. Manual pollination seems a bit tricky, but I really don't need all that much corn if it doesn't work out. Any suggestions on kinds of corn? I have bought Illini Extra Sweet. Good? Bad?


    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 11:59AM
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We did a 4x4 2 plants per sqft, but also added the green beans and squash growing at the bottom - 3 sisters. Corn came out okay, beans and squash were great. I agree on the manual pollination Good luck

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 3:38PM
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jwstell42 -

What corn variety did you plant where you were able to put two per square foot?

Does this mean you placed the corn six inches apart in the row - and one foot between rows?

I have about a 12 x 4 area that I plan to use for corn.

Last year I had two 12 x 4 areas. I planted only three rows in the 4-foot wide beds and planted them a foot apart. But, I was growing Silver Queen corn - a late, tall variety.

I purchased a new variety this year - called Honey Treat. It is one of the faster maturing sweet corn varieties.

With the Silver Queen, we maybe got 30 ears out of the 12 x 4 area. Sugar Dots was planted in the other 12 x 4 area and they did horrible - only a few ears out of all the plants.

Also - what kind of fertilizing schedule do you use for your corn - and what kind of fertilizer?

Really would like to try to grow corn six inches apart this year with a foot between the rows - allowing for 96 stalks to be planted in that 12 x 4 area; much more than the 36 I was planting.

Here is a link that might be useful: BsnTech Gardening Blog

    Bookmark   January 22, 2011 at 11:52AM
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I wanted to try the 3 sisters in a 4x4 box last season, but thought it would just be too crowded and chickened out. Can you give me an idea of the layout you used? How and when did you plant each of the three sisters? What kind of beans?

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 8:01PM
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I always have a 4x4 experimental box and this was mine last year. I planted 3-4 corn seeds in each square as they came up thinned to 2 as far apart from eachother as possible - on the west side of the box. This way most of the beans and squash had most of the day sun. We planted about 2-3 Pole bean seeds in the boxes next to the corn and only 2 Summer Squash seeds. I planted everything around early May. I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out. My little ones also mixed carrot and radish seeds and we sprinkled them in the corner boxes East side. By the time they pulled out the radishes the carrot leaves were popping up and removing the radishes gave the carrots more room to grow. The Summer squash grew alot and overflowed, but I read somewhere that it was okay to trim back leaves so I did to try to keep it under control - we still had way too many to eat!
This year I'm doing it again in different boxes. Planting corn on the North side and pole beans all at the same time again. Two zuccini plants, and fill-ins with lettuce mix early spring and chard, onions on the south side edge. I always plant some flowers also, nasturtiums and marigolds. Hope this helps. I took pictures, if I can find them I'll post it. Have fun and Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 3, 2011 at 9:48PM
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jwstell42(5 NY)

Bsntech -

I plant two varieties, one early (differs each year, but i just pick one off the shelf - usually a 65day-70 day variety), and Silver queen.

I do 1/2 the 4X8 box in the early variety, and 1/2 the box in Silverqueen, planted at the sametime, they mature about 2 weeks apart usually, sometimes longer.

How I plant is kind of a diagonal pattery, so if you picture 1 square foot, I would plant one plant in the lower left handcorner of the box, and one in the upper right hand corner, and repeat across the bed for each "square".

Hope that makes sense! Essentially ends up with rows about 8-10 inchest apart, with stalks 8-10inces apart in the row, depending on where in the pattern you are.

As far as Fertilizer, I do a general long term 14-14-14 (like osmocote) when I plant. And then when the corn is about knee high, and when it tassles (so twice) I dump pure nitrogen of some sort in the bed (like blood meal). Just a handful per every few squares.

Hope that helps!

Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 5, 2011 at 4:35PM
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Thank you, jwstell42.

Sounds like the varieties of corn you plant are even earlier than Honey Treat - which is a 76-day maturing variety. Hopefully they'll grow well if they are 8 inches apart with a foot between the rows.

I also plan to use a 12-12-12 fertilizer - but I am not sure if I'll go to the extent of buying blood meal or any expensive fertilizers. Hopefully the compost tea that I'll be incorporating into every watering this year will help tremendously.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2011 at 11:03AM
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jwstell42(5 NY)

FYI, a small $5 Bag of Bloodmeal will last you 2 seasons with the amount I put down :)

That being said - Compost Tea will probably be even better than what I do!

But whatever you want to do!

Good Luck.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:04PM
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