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Thread: Growing Corn

  1. #1

    Default Growing Corn

    Anyone ever grow corn in Alaska? Is there something wrong with the corn if tassles are starting to appear and the corn is only 2' tall?

  2. #2
    Member MidnightSunRebel's Avatar
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    I've read an Alaskan gardening book that says it can be done. I was not interested and all I remember is that the small stand of corn was wrapped in plastic. I'll find the book and more info hopefully.

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    I'm going to try it this year. I have mine already started in jiffy pots sitting in the kitchen window. I hope it will grow. I had my mom send me my favorite type from down south, so i dont know if it will make or not, but i am gonna try.

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    Member JOAT's Avatar
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    I've successfully done some corn. They key is to give it a very warm and sunny spot. Raise the bed if possible. You can start indoors, but the root system on corn is very fragile and doesn't transplant well, so you've got be be very careful. I would suggest using large starter pots for seeding and do only 1 move... from the pot right into the garden when the weather is warm enough, without disruption or pruning of the roots.

    If you're doing small quantities, plant them in blocks instead of rows. Narrow rows will not pollinate well. After you put the starters in the ground, rig up a plastic cover over the crop and keep it in place until they are approaching 2' tall and the weather is reliably warm. Corn also needs a lot of good fertilizer.

    Another corn trick is to plant peas in between the corn stalks. A pea plant actually puts nitrogen into the soil and helps the corn grow. The corn stalk acts as a climbing stake for the peas. Let the corn get up to a foot tall before planting the peas so the stalks have a head start and the peas don't pull down the corn. If you do this, make sure you have a moose-free garden. Moose won't really bother corn, but they'll tear down everything to get to the peas.
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    Member walk-in's Avatar
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    I grew corn last year. I don't have a good spot indoors to start it, so I bought starts and planted them in a bed next to the house that gets a lot of sun. It grew great, and we got a few ears. I'm going to plant in the same spot this year. I've cut down a few trees since last year, so it will get even more sun throughout the day. I think the heat reflecting off the house makes all the difference. I didn't put plastic around it last year, but I may make a PVC frame and put plastic up this year.

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    Default Re: Growing Corn

    A friend of mine grows her corn in her greenhouse and says it does excellent! Has anyone done this?

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    I imagine that a green house would be best. It would provide the heat that corn needs. I just need a 2 acre greenhouse. I love corn!

    I agree with the post about not transplanting starts but one time. I am afraid that i am back to square one on transplants. Started in jiffy pellets and moved them up into bigger pots. NOT good. They are starting to yellow and wilt. Probably too much for the roots..... Oh well, maybe I can get it to grow from seed planted directly in the garden. Has anyone been able to harvest before frost when direct planting???

  8. #8
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    bobblehead,

    Corn needs sun, and lots of it. If you're in a rainy valley, then you're likely headed toward a sense of expensive and labor-intesive futility. If you're in the Interior, or equally sunny place, then keep your butter soft, and your boiling pot hot.

    I've grown corn in a hot house/greenhouse, as well as knowing folks who routinely grow it outdoors. I haven't bothered with it in several years now. The sq. ft. return is shy of what other crops will do.

    In a greenhouse, you'll have to be more dilligent about shaking the stalks to get the corn polinated, as there's typically significantly less air movement in a greenhouse by which the stalks would otherwise pollinate themselves.. Even in the greenhouse, we still used mostly northern (short-season) hybrids, of various sorts.

    (We typically started in 2" cubes with home-mixed organics, initially light on ferts, then moved them to 5"-6" pots before finally moving them outside to the greenhouse. NEVER transplant in direct sunlight!! And allow freshly transplanted starts to get partial shade; it's sort of a 'post-surgery' time for them.. ;^>).... )

    If growing outside in the open garden, make sure that there's no shade inhibiting the sun during the day. Mound your rows or blocks, and mulch with straw, (or what ever), to either side of the stalks, lining the raised areas to either side of the corn stalks with strips of black plastic about the width of the distance from the 'valley' between your rows or blocks, to the top of the mound, and run these strips down either side. A trickle-tube type watering system, laid along either side of the stalks, works best for this, as it's more difficult to get the water past the black plastic once it's down. The black plastic on the ground attracts heat from the sunlight, and warms the roots, as well as helping to hold moisture in.

    Even outside, you can shake the stalks once the tassles and pollen appears, and increase the volume of kernels on the cobs by doing so.

    Now all you need to do is grow a hog, and you have a fairly complete BBQ!

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