Corn in sfg-how deep do roots need to grow?

growingupMarch 5, 2008

My sfg is only 4x4. I plan this season, only using it for corn. When plotting out my garden (we increased it and changed some things around), I decided to put a mesh screen under the raised bed. Should this be removed before I plant the corn? The bed sits on dirt that is very hard and has rocks in it, but if the roots need that space to grow, they'd at least have a fighting chance. Or, can the screen stay and the corn do just fine?

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How deep are your raised beds?

Here is a link that might be useful: Judy's Square Foot Garden Blog

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 1:27PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

I can tell you what happened to my corn that I grew the first year I tried it. First, I planted 4 per square. All came up and were looking very good. They were about 7' tall. Almost every stalk had 2 stalks growing on them. I came out one afternoon after a fierce wind storm to find them all "leveled." How deep your raised beds are is one factor. The other main factor, a key one, is that this soil is so loose and friable, a strong wind can ruin it because corn roots are not that deep-even if you have a deep bed. The particular box that this corn grew in is very deep. I did come up with a way to stop that however, and the next year we had over 100 ears of corn in one 4X4 box....

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 9:51AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

How do you keep a turkey in suspense? ... Tell ya tomorrow...

Ok Snibb, I'll bite, for those of use planting corn in a deep raised bed, how do you keep wind from leveling the 6-7 foot plants prior to harvesting?

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's garden adventure

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 1:07PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City), that is funny!
Here is what you do:1)go out and get 1/2" rebar that is about 4 ft long. You can either buy them or get them from construction sites free(my method!)2)You then pound this rebar in each corner of your 4X4-or whatever you are growing in.3)Plant your corn.4)Before it starts to really grow, you take some of that nylon netting you can buy at Home Depot or Lowes, and stretch it across the rebar so it is nice and taught. You do this at about 1 1/2'ft.5)You put another piece of nylon at about the 3' level. So, now you have two horizontal pieces of nylong that the corn can easily grow through, and, you wont have to come out one day and see it blown over. I do this same thing for big things like potatoes, different types of flowers. It really helps keep your garden nice and tidy-without everything flopping all over the place....

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 2:20PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I wouldn't think the mesh would be a problem for corn, especially if the mesh holes are big enough for roots to go through.

Someone else is going to have to say how deep roots go, but if you've got 8 or more inch deep beds, I'd say go for it.

Snibb, thanks, now to decide if I really need to do this or if I'm worried about wind knocking down my stalks... I may be building a cage worthy of a WWF wrestling match to keep raccoons out, so if I do I could easily do the nylon netting also.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's gardening adventure

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 7:22PM
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Just bank up some dirt around the bottom of the corn when it gets about 8 inches tall. Cover it about half way up the stalk. This will help keep the corn stable, grow a stronger root system and will "feed" the plant more nutrients. A small patch of corn can be detroyed by extream winds (but so can your home). Even a field of corn can be damaged if the wind is strong enough. I had two rows only 10 ft. long one year and the wind bent it all over. I just straighted it back up and tapped the soil around the base. No problem. Planting corn in a square pattern protects it too and helps with polination. On the farm, we used to grow acres of corn and we absolutely had to "bank" the corn in order to get a good crop. Certainly this is much easier and less expensive than rebar.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2008 at 8:52PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

It certainly will be less expensive than rebar but it wont work in a SFG with soil of compost, vermiculite, and peat moss. You can go and bank up all summer, but it wont work-the soil it too loose for that. If you have soil with more dirt in it I'm sure your method will be ok. These winds were probably 50-60 MPH, and they don't blow homes over. The wind ripped the corn roots out, so I couldn't even go out and bank it. Four pieces of rebar in a garden box is not that expensive to help protect your crop...I think your probably talking about farming-Im talking about home gardening which are 2 entirely different things....

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 10:17AM
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Snibb, you may be right. I plant my corn in the ground near my raised beds. I suppose the compost, soil in the raised beds is too loose. But if I got 50 mph winds, I don't think any corn would stand too long in that. I still suggest banking some dirt around it like I explained, if for no other reason than to give it a little extra nutrition. It just seems to do better. Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 4, 2008 at 9:29PM
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snibb(Salt Lake City)

alan...I know what you mean..however, my corn has not blown over in this same wind for the past 2 years...

    Bookmark   April 5, 2008 at 1:48AM
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I'd like to know the answer to the original question. How deep do corn roots grow? In inches please? Ball park figure in inches?

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 3:49PM
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Corn roots grow a MINIMUM of 8 inches deep sometime as far as several feet

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:51AM
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corn root go a MINIMUM of 8 inches down sometime as far as several feet

    Bookmark   April 23, 2013 at 4:53AM
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If you wish to grown corn, whether it be in a small or large garden your best approach is first to do a soil test. Nearly EVERY county in the U.S. has an extension office that can found under government listings in the phone book. In most cases this is a 10-25 expense and well worth it as it will also tell you what will grow well and what will not in your particular soil. Many of the comments contain "blowing over" and the CEC/base saturation part of the test will tell one why. It has 3 parts - Ca,Mg & K. If the K figure is less than 4 you will get lodging(blowing over) in a 20 mph wind. Mine is 9 and 40 mph+ are common to my area but my corn risists wind, polecats and coons trying to push it over. Another important item with this crop is that it needs phosphorus in the initial growth to produce strong roots and as corn has two sets with the nodular being the production one, you have to till or spade this into the ground. It will not leach. The present record is over 500 bu/ac and you work that down into a small space you will find that you really can grow a lot.

    Bookmark   February 12, 2015 at 12:17PM
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