sweet corn

kasiaw(Z9 TX)January 4, 2010

I'm interested in trying sweet corn this year. I've grown it once without success, but this time I have more room and I would like to ask for some advice.

1. What varieties would do well in south Texas?

2. Is 12 x 16 bed large enough for good ear fill?

3. Am I out of my mind thinking I can grow corn in Houston suburb?

I'll appreciate all the advice y'all can shoot my way.

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bobbi_p(z8/9 Cypress, TX)

If you fill the entire 12 X 16, you should have a good little crop!

I had a 15 by 30 bed at our last house in Cypress. Most books recommend at least 4 rows for adequate pollination. My 4, 15 ft rows did not fill out well and were pretty wormy. (Which my old-school father said I should have dusted the silks with Sevin powder just as soon as the silks emerged from the ends of the ears.)

My personal opinion is that it takes a lot of space for 1 good ear per stalk with maybe a second "nubbin" if you're lucky....

Plus, I just have to add, that with this week's forecast, I had to laugh that someone's thinking about planting corn! Again, according to my father, anything less than 70 degrees sure isn't corn growing weather!

Hope you're having fun planning your spring garden!


    Bookmark   January 4, 2010 at 5:04PM
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texasflip(Nacogdoches, TX z8)

I've grown sweet corn a few times. I've planted a 16 x 8 foot area in my garden and just get mediocre ear fill out. But I realize now I've always planted them farther apart than necessary. I would go with one of the early, shorter varieties and plant them a foot apart with rows no more than 2 feet apart. I can't remember which varieties I've tried; one year it was a white and one year it was a white and yellow.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 9:11AM
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Hi Kasiaw. This method works great for me.I planted sweet corn in rows spaced 3 feet apart with a single row of corn in the center of each row until I read a book named square foot gardening. They state that for every square foot of space you can grow four stalks of corn.Utlizing this information I came up with this procedure. I first sprinkle a balanced fertilizer down each row and till it in good. The wheels of my tiller are 12 inches apart. I then use a rake to fill in the ruts to the proper depth to plant the seed.I can then have a double of plants in each row Sweet corn seed is some time hard to germinate if it doesen't have enough moisure, so before I plant the seed I use a water hose to apply water in the furrows.After I cover the seed I tamp the soil To make good contact with the seed. I plant about twice as many seed as I need and when the seedlings are about 6 inches tall I thin them to about twelve inches apart. Your stalks should then be properly spaced each direction. When they are approx. 15 inches tall.I sprinkle more fertilizer down each row around the young plants and pull up soil from each side of the rows to cover the fertilizer I then let it grow until they start forming silks. I used to spray with seven at this time to prevent worm damage but I found Martin's Vegetable Plus spray to work much better. I plant two double rows spaced @ three foot centers. The stalks are fairly close together and the ears always fill out good.The variety I like best is a bye colored hybrid called G 90. Using this method you should have plenty of room in the space you have. I live in Orange County about 100 miles east of Houston so you should be successful were you live.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2010 at 8:58PM
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This posting caught my eye because I am in the process of ordering my corn seed now too! I haven't grown any for a couple of years now (it's so labor intensive!) and am eager to try a new variety called Mirai.

I don't have a super large area to plant (big enough for 5-6 rows, maybe 20 feet long?) and I always planted my corn very close together and always had a very good harvest. I found the hardest part of it all to be weed control and am going to post a query about the best underplanting for corn.

Good luck and yummy eating!


    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 10:42AM
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texasflip(Nacogdoches, TX z8)

Maybe you could underplant with squash like the Indians did. The thing I don't like about growing sweet corn is that it takes up so much room without giving a long harvest and after you do harvest it, it's too late to plant something else in its place. But underplanting with something like squash would pretty much take care of that problem, great idea!

    Bookmark   January 7, 2010 at 12:03PM
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drdrewdog(z9 TX)

I live south of Houston, and have had good success with Silver Queen, planted in 3' rows w/plants 1' apart. A little bit of worm damage, but averaged about 1.5 ears/plant and it was really tasty...

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 11:16AM
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kasiaw(Z9 TX)

Thank you all for responding. Interplanting corn with vining squash is an interesting idea; I haven't tried this before, but I'm tempted to try.

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 12:46PM
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I am the experimenting type gardener which basically means I don't know squat. So this year I am going to try what I read as an old American Indian method whereby you plant your corn in circles. You plant squash at the base and plant beans or peas to grow up the stalk. Supposedly, the squash protects the roots of the corn, the stalks provide structure for the beans/peas to grow up and the tight circles insure good pollination which is a must when growing corn. As a back up, I will plant a crop off by itself in the traditional method. I will keep a log and post my results. In the meantime COME ON SPRING!! This cold weather is making me NUTS!! Muddaubers aren't cold weather critters.

    Bookmark   January 11, 2010 at 6:52PM
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carrie751(z7/8 TX)

Neither are many of us who aren't muddaubers......LOL> It has been below my acceptable temp degree of 65 for sometime now ............ ament to "HURRY UP SPRING" !!!!

    Bookmark   January 12, 2010 at 8:49AM
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