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Thread: Corn

  1. #1
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    Default Corn

    I've just started my early crop of corn this week. Probably not time to plant it in Alaska yet, but I now live on the coast of Washington and have a lot of the same problems faced in Alaska.

    #1 is, Corn likes warmth, especially when germinating, 70 degrees F or higher. We don't get a lot of that here until mid to late June which is too late for me as I head to Cordova for fishing season mid to late April. So I have to get creative.

    I start my corn indoors and transplant it. It's not a necessarily recommended technique, but with a little planning, it has worked for me. First, I don't try to plant it to long before the last frost as I don't really keep it in the planting pots too long. Just long enough to sprout and get 2 to 3 inches high. I think the secret is don't let the roots develop so far they crowd the container. That can cause stunted plants later on. http://www.hort.uconn.edu/ipm/veg/htms/sctransp.htm

    We have a small porch I use for starting plants and besides full sun, it has a baseboard heater that I make sure is turned up to 70. I water the potting soil once when I first plant the seeds until I see sprouts. I've learned in the past not to over-water and to keep the heat up. Otherwise you end up with rotton seeds and no corn.

    I also use a corn with good cold soil tolerance. It's called Precocious and is sold by Territorial Seed. There are garden stores in Alaska that carry Territorial Seed or you can order online or from a catalog. http://www.territorialseed.com/product/593/187 If you click on the more information link under the price list you get some very good info on the cultivation of corn and different varieties.

    When I'm ready to transplant I do it into a raised bed. You get warmer soil and it lets excess moisture drain better. I use a black mulch. I've used plastic in the past, but this year I'm trying a biodegradable mulch. I cut holes in it about 10 inches apart in a grid. I like to plant my corn in a block as opposed to one or two tows as it pollinates much better in a block. That's very important to get full ears. After transplanting I cover everything with a floating row cover to protect from light frosts. That stays on until the last frost date which is about mid May here. Luckily my wife will still be here to take care of that. The mulch eliminates weeding as well as warming the soil.

    One thing I'd like to try someday is what is called the Three Sisters approach to growing corn. It's an old Iroquois method of planting corn, squash, and beans in the same space. They form a symbiotic relationship and all help the others. You can read all about it here http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html but basically, the corn supports the pole beans which add nitrogen to the soil making it more productive and the squash or also pumpkin plants create a natural ground mulch keeping the soil cool and moist.

  2. #2
    Member upinak's Avatar
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    Default

    Two, when they get big enough (to your standards) would you mind posting a pic? I have never had any success with corn.
    No amount of education can help those who want to remain permanently ignorant of facts, which includes those whom have been educated.

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    Default Sure

    Big enough to transplant? Sure.

    And I forgot to add, I planted the seed on Wednesday, and on Sunday (yesterday) I spotted 3 sprouts. This morning I counted 28. (out of 48 I planted) So in 5 days, over half the seed has sprouted. No tomatoes yet, but one cucumber plant is peeking out. Maybe I'll take pics along the way and post them.

    I'm still building our garden here in the front yard. Removing sod, tilling, adding fertilizer and compost, building raised beds. Will take a few years to get it where I want it, but seeing enough progress to not get discouraged. Last year was the first and our biggest success was pumpkins. We had some dandies. Also had good peas, carrots, spinich, swiss chard, carrots, potatoes and lettuce and lesser crops of other veggies and tomatoes. Trying to move up a bit this year. I also planted berry bushes and fruit trees, cherry, apple, plum and peach. The big surprise was the Frost Peach. I transplanted it about this time last year and we actually got 10 small peaches on it. The only other fruit to bear fruit was the strawberries. Peaches don't usually do well here because of the cool wet climate. The tend to get peach leaf curl. But the guy at the nursery swore by the Frost for this area so I took a chance. I was so impressed that I planted another a couple weeks ago. It was by far the most vigorous growing of the fruit trees we planted.

  4. #4
    Member upinak's Avatar
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    Teo where are you that you can plant peach trees? I have tried them too.. they, well.. umm.. didn't last!


    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    Big enough to transplant? Sure.

    And I forgot to add, I planted the seed on Wednesday, and on Sunday (yesterday) I spotted 3 sprouts. This morning I counted 28. (out of 48 I planted) So in 5 days, over half the seed has sprouted. No tomatoes yet, but one cucumber plant is peeking out. Maybe I'll take pics along the way and post them.

    I'm still building our garden here in the front yard. Removing sod, tilling, adding fertilizer and compost, building raised beds. Will take a few years to get it where I want it, but seeing enough progress to not get discouraged. Last year was the first and our biggest success was pumpkins. We had some dandies. Also had good peas, carrots, spinich, swiss chard, carrots, potatoes and lettuce and lesser crops of other veggies and tomatoes. Trying to move up a bit this year. I also planted berry bushes and fruit trees, cherry, apple, plum and peach. The big surprise was the Frost Peach. I transplanted it about this time last year and we actually got 10 small peaches on it. The only other fruit to bear fruit was the strawberries. Peaches don't usually do well here because of the cool wet climate. The tend to get peach leaf curl. But the guy at the nursery swore by the Frost for this area so I took a chance. I was so impressed that I planted another a couple weeks ago. It was by far the most vigorous growing of the fruit trees we planted.
    No amount of education can help those who want to remain permanently ignorant of facts, which includes those whom have been educated.

  5. #5
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    Default Coastal WA

    I live on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Probably about 12 miles from the Ocean.

  6. #6
    Member upinak's Avatar
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    AHH HA! Well Peaches will grow there. When I lived in Sumner/Auburn (40 miles outside of Seattle, closer to Tacoma) we had little peach trees and apple trees and all kinds of stuff. They did pretty well in that valley. Keep an eye out for this weird beetle bug (it is huge) and it kinda looks like a bubble bee but makes a WEIRD noise. They Like to eat your peaches.

    Quote Originally Posted by twodux View Post
    I live on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington. Probably about 12 miles from the Ocean.
    No amount of education can help those who want to remain permanently ignorant of facts, which includes those whom have been educated.

  7. #7
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    Default

    Great thread!
    We started our corn as well and it was also with territorial seed company.
    Let's see how it pans out!!
    Lurker.

  8. #8
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    Red face Growing...

    Upinak, how well I know that Sumner Puyallup Valley.The only place I have ever lived, I could drop a seed, and there was no holding it back.I had a garden there that would make Ed Hume envious.Wasn't a stone in that river bottom soil.I once had to put a ground rod in, and pushed it in the first 7' by hand.Since moving to the mts 19 yrs ago(Leavenworth), everything is a fight.First things first,have to get the 12 ga. out and clean out the gophers with steel shot each spring,but this So/west facing mt side bench (after 19 yrs of building it) has excellent soil also .As luck would have it, I have a good farmer friend who raises cattle two blocks away, and we do alot of bartering.I get lots of soil additive.Where are you now?My step son has a corn maze just so. of Olympia.Also plants about 10 acres of sweet corn.Not sure how he does it, but plants the corn under plastic, so he can have corn weeks before his competitors.As soon as he removes the plastic...it straightens right up.He use to plant Boddaceous(my favorit) but he has a new one he likes better.To me...the only better is ambrosia(a take off from Boddaceous)GR

  9. #9
    Member upinak's Avatar
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    Roving I am in Anchorage. I lived in the Seattle area for a couple of years... when there was a bad recession. Beginning of 2000-2001 leaving fast. So I was there at the mardi Gras Riots (I even have pics) and the "Mardi Gras God earthquake" OMG the Seattle Mayor at that time was an idiot.

    I loved Washington, but I missed Alaska.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rovingarcher View Post
    Upinak, how well I know that Sumner Puyallup Valley.The only place I have ever lived, I could drop a seed, and there was no holding it back.I had a garden there that would make Ed Hume envious.Wasn't a stone in that river bottom soil.I once had to put a ground rod in, and pushed it in the first 7' by hand.Since moving to the mts 19 yrs ago(Leavenworth), everything is a fight.First things first,have to get the 12 ga. out and clean out the gophers with steel shot each spring,but this So/west facing mt side bench (after 19 yrs of building it) has excellent soil also .As luck would have it, I have a good farmer friend who raises cattle two blocks away, and we do alot of bartering.I get lots of soil additive.Where are you now?My step son has a corn maze just so. of Olympia.Also plants about 10 acres of sweet corn.Not sure how he does it, but plants the corn under plastic, so he can have corn weeks before his competitors.As soon as he removes the plastic...it straightens right up.He use to plant Boddaceous(my favorit) but he has a new one he likes better.To me...the only better is ambrosia(a take off from Boddaceous)GR
    No amount of education can help those who want to remain permanently ignorant of facts, which includes those whom have been educated.

  10. #10
    Member grcg's Avatar
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    Default I cheated and purchased starts.

    This is my crop from last year (late July picture). The first time I have played with growing corn.

    I bought these starts from Hawks and either Ann's or Plant Kingdom.

    Even with the lack of truly warm days last summer and the fact that I know I got these starts in the ground a couple weeks later than I should have, I think they did pretty well. I got 4 full sized ears and a bunch of baby ears. Way too fun!

    I think that my raised beds helped a lot. I am excited to try it again!
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  11. #11
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    Default grcg

    Looks great grcg! Hopefully this year you'll get more ears out of the deal. The plants look great tho.

    Do you remember what variety you planted?

  12. #12
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    Default Have to look at last years notes...

    Short answer: I don't remember off the top of my head, I will have to look at my notes. Or look at the tags in the bed when the snow melts.

    Long answer: I think I bought 6 six-packs of different varieties. (Later I read that you aren't supposed to plant different varieties interspersed like that. Something about cross pollinating varieties will potentially negatively affect your crop. This book said if you plant different varieties, separate them a bit.) Of those 6 six packs, only 2 had the name of the variety. All the rest were labeled 'sweet corn'. It is a little frustrating, because some definitely did better than the others. So...this year I am going to try not to buy any plants that aren't labeled with the variety.

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