Only 1 corn stalk per sq ft?

tiarnna(z5 WA)May 15, 2006

REally? I don't want to do it like that. LOL I have 2 4x8 beds, and one is nearly full and its only had one set of plantings, and I am ready to plant my next round. I want to be able to freeze a lot. Can I do more ?

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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

Corn is one of those things where I feel like traditional row agriculture is still the better option. Not only can you only plant 1 per square, you need to plant at least a solid 4x4 block of it and a full 4x8 bed would be even better so you get good pollination. All told I have 4x48 of space and I *still* don't plant corn, and won't unitl I have a small tractor to keep an area busted up for rows.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2006 at 11:36PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Not disagreeing at all with Ray, who tells it straight.

Before I learned SFG I had this fantasy about the 3rd bed I made. The next year, I intended to plant corn 6 inches apart within my 4x4 frame. Even drew it out, counting the little dots. Over the winter I learned SFG & realized Mel put some thought into this. This would take some very robust soil to feed.

I did carry over from my row garden days interplanting cukes with the corn. Last year I did corn 1/sf with 6 cukes climbing throughout, ended up trellising the cukes to keep from bringing the corn down. At Harvest time I realized 6 cukes may have been providing too much shade. Of coursse the neighbors trees & the spot I chose could have played a role. The neighbor has since removed more trees from his side.

Cukes did fine, corn did OK. Small ears but very sweet, tender, & fresh. As Ray said you need a block for the pollination, bees do NOT play a role here. I need to pay more attention to feeding/watering the corn more when they are silking.

Did you know that each silk on corn leads to a kernel? Each needs to be pollinated too, if I am not mistaken. Poor pollination results in those empty rows we have seen.

I can offer this - maybe you can track down the owner some how, maybe it is pure bs - harvest time will tell the truth. Found at a familiar website -

Scroll down to Crop

Click on Corn
The text says "Every gardener likes to grow corn even though itÂs the least expensive item at the store. Must be that fresh from the garden thing. We plant 4 per sq. ft."

Did I read that Right? I was shocked - That is closer than I was willing to try. Maybe the owner of that pic reads this forum & can tell us how that harvest turned out?

You only live once, Try it & let us know.
Good Luck,

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 2:07AM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

...and Bingo was his name-o.

I'm glad you found that reference, I might be tempted to try at 4 per sq.ft. Actually, I have a bed I never got around to clearing planting with the crazyness in my personal life right now. I think I'll some small packets of corn seed and try a few varieties there, just for the sake of research. At 4 per square, corn would be worth the effort, plus the increase in pollination potential would knock out my remaining reservations about corn in a small block.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 9:36AM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

IMHO -Gardening is one experiment after another. GO for it...
One thing I forgot to mention, esp. if your soil is loose - I had problems with the wind (late in the season) knocking some of the stalks over.

I live up on a hill, we get a breeze most of the time but late in the season it seems to get stronger. Last time I made a makeshift trellis to help. Hopefully this time I will be able to make something better. I am thinking maybe something like a railing that goes around a deck secured to the frame. Using some twine to make a grid (to help the center stalks) maybe 4-5 ft high.

I also spent some time trying to figure out a way to water them better. I use rainbarrels but with a soaker hose there is not enough pressure to permeate the hose. Need some way to pressurize a 55 gal. barrel. Last year I just used an open-end hose from the barrels, just did NOT do it often enuff.

One thing I did learn from the open-end hose tho, if you tend to forget the water is on, it will just stop when the barrel empties. I started just filling barrel with city water (when rain water was gone) giving the water time to de-chlorinate and warm a bit before using it on the plants.

I am drifting...

    Bookmark   May 16, 2006 at 2:02PM
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Ray_Scheel(z8b/SS31 E. TX)

Bought some core seed yesterday, though only onepack made it to the checkout, kids must have ditched the other one along the way. Should be able to get it planted this weekend, might grab more seed at the Orange Box as part of another brainstorm you've sparked, see the new watering thread for that

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 12:10PM
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little_dani(9, S. Tex Coast)

I plant corn at least 4 to the foot. In a separate raised bed, corn is planted at 2-3 week intervals, I plant a 4'x4' section, 4 to the foot each way.

I amend my soil with plenty of compost, and sometimes will add some good composted manure, purchased from WM for $.93 per bag. No weed seeds, no nasty aroma.

In two/three weeks, I plant another 4' block. With only 2 of us at home, we are not overburdened with corn this way, as we don't like frozen corn. We have plenty and when this is done, the next block will be ready.

I do keep them watered, and I try to never let the corn start to wilt.

We planted on Feb. 10th, and we are almost ready for our first corn of the year!


    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 1:10AM
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I have been growing corn 4 per sq ft for 3 years now, and see no difference in yield from when I planted 1 per sq ft. I grow corn in both raised and non-raised beds, each 9' x 3'. I have found that when I grow it in the raised beds, I do need to support the corn as it will bend over with high winds.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 11:59AM
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Good to know - so in a 4x4 bed you could grow half the bed with an early season and half the bed with a late season corn?
Yielding somewhere between 32 & 64 ears of corn per half bed?

    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 3:22PM
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gumby_ct(CT it says Z5)

Last year with my 1/sqft corn in addition to cukes I also grew some snap peas around the perimeter so I could just reach in to harvest. These also grew well.

But hey at 4/sqft WOW that should be more than enuff for two. I like the early/late season idea too. Got me thinkin... Now how to feed & water those monsters?


    Bookmark   May 20, 2006 at 11:21PM
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bindersbee(6a UT)

You can do 4 corn plants per square foot. I have that right from the horse's mouth (Mel). I spent some time at a recent home and garden show changing the typo on page 96 of the new book to read 4 instead of 1 per square foot.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2006 at 11:00PM
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I am attempting this for the first time this year. I have 2 4'x8' SFG I just got set up. Love this concept for my small back yard. My other 4x8 is fully planted and already showing great signs of life one week into planting. I am going to attempt corn @ 4 psf using a hybrid that only grows to 4-4.5' tall. I also am designing a removable "cage" from hardware cloth and 3/4" PVC pipe to keep the critters out. I hope to plant some table queen acorn squash in various places inside the garden and some Kentucky pole beans around some of the edge as an experiment using the 3 sisters as the idea around this. The Cage should also allow for some support in wind. If i get this right or wrong I will post some pics and cross fingers for it to work. Still got a cpl weeks before planting of corn in the Midwest but looking forward to it soon. I don't see ANYTHING posted since 06 but I'm giving this a try. ANY info or suggestions will be deeply considered.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2010 at 1:00PM
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