Growing Corn – For a start, should we agree that at least one of our favorite meal is based on corn? Not to mention is is people’s all-time favorite for the tastiest treat of the summer. Well, what else than the noteworthy grilled corn on the cob!
Don’t even try to forget that nothing ever goes wrong with a bowl of cornflakes for breakfast. Also no one calls a movie night without the ever-present popcorn. Indeed, corn is a versatile meal that it is rightly a staple food in many regions all over the world.
The broad uses of corn may owe to the fact that corn is rich on fiber yet low on fat. Furthermore, it is packed with vitamins and minerals while also supplies more antioxidants than any other grains. Thus making it a fairly healthy diet as moderate consumption. Since many people are quite fond of this grain, it gets to be one of the major cultivated crops in the world. This article informs how growing corn is rather easy, in addition to various ideas to grow some at the garden. If you ever thought of cultivating corn, maybe it is time to start your journey.
Growing Corn From Seeds
In fact, corn varies from the the kind we use to get grilled corn on the cobs, cornflakes, popcorn, cornmeal, or livestock fodder. In particular, the type of corn that people consume as a meal off the cob is the sweet corn variety or Zea mays saccharata.
Living up to its name, fresh sweet corn tastes sweet and juicy. It is the one people eat in salad or cook in soups. Sweet corn plant is short and matures sooner. The kernels has high sugar contents which later turn into starch and affect its textures. Anyhow growing sweet corn would serve any kitchen pretty well. That’s why in this part, we will cover all about growing sweet corn in particular from seeds.
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1. Work the soil
Cultivating corn calls for soil that holds moisture as corn would really benefit from much water intake. Most importantly, make sure the soil is well-draining to properly supply oxygen for the roots. Gardeners should start working on the soil right after the last frost since corn matures within a long frost-free period. That includes mixing in the manure and aged compost to soil on fall and leave it throughout winter. That way the soil will be right-away workable after the frost.
2. Start directly outdoor
Corn roots are the type that would be easily destructible due to transplanting. Therefore, gardeners plant the seeds directly into the sunny garden location than starting the seeds indoor. It usually takes place on the second week after the last frost date. Further, ensuring the soil temperature no less than 60 degrees Fahrenheit is essential. Provided that the soil meets the requirement, satisfying germination will occur. Plant seeds in a 1.5 to 2 deep in the soil with spacing distance about 4 to 6 inches in between seeds. Another tactical point would be to plant another batch of corn within a couple weeks after the starting the first seeds batch.
3. Caring and Weeding
Watering is vital during the growth. Since the planting time, make sure the top 1 inch layer of the soil is properly watered. The problem of improper watering will lead to missing kernels in the tassels. In addition, the gardeners need to watch out for weeds growing nearby. Do care for regular weeding during the first month of growing. Mulching is a good way too to suppress weed.
4. Harvest matured crops
Corn plants mature and bear cobs after pollination. Naturally, it occurs with the help of wind. However, gardeners can hand-pollinate the corn plants, particularly when they only plant a single row of corn. Eventually the corn silks show up. It will be ready when the kernels ripen, usually it takes around 3 weeks. The cob will swell and the kernels spurt out the sweet, juicy content when pierced. Afterwards, it is good to eat right away or preserve in the freezer.
This video link below will give you more insight on growing corn from seeds.
Tips for Growing Corn
In order to grow corn successfully to the harvest, there are several more points gardeners need to keep in mind. These following tips are helpful to guide new gardeners to make sure the corn growing correctly.
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1. How to grow corn in colder zones
Corn germination can take time approximately 10 to 14 days. The key of proper germination would be the temperature of the soil. In addition to growing corn in colder zones, it might be a little difficult to achieve the right soil temperature. Therefore, gardeners solve it by laying black plastic cover over the soil. Black plastic cover help raising the temperature of the soil quickly.
2. Consider to plant in blocks
Corn plants are naturally wind-pollinated. Growing them in a long, single row would need hand-pollination to completely form the kernels. However, there is an alternative to allow wind-pollination efficiently. Gardeners would prefer to grow corns in blocks. The width would be around 3 rows. This plotting is specifically best for home garden.
3. Water correctly
Due to shallow roots, corn plants don’t absorb water well. It is crucial to do regular check on the moisture level of the top layer soil. More often than not, gardeners opt to water using soaker hose or drip irrigation. As the pollen can easily get washed away, it is better to avoid spraying the flowering tops.
Growing Sweet Corn
Sweet corn differs by three main variety, which are sugary (SU), shrunken seeds (SH2) and sweet extended (SE). The three varieties have different growing requirement and shelf-life in the fridge. Among many hybrids of sweet corn, Ambrosia is known as the top choice for home-gardening. It matures rather quick and retain its sweetness up until a week in a fridge. These are the ideas of growing corn at home.
Cinder blocks Raised Bed
Raised garden enables growing sufficient corn plants in dense planting. It is quite common to use cinder blocks as an easy alternative to build one. It holds the soil and nutrients well for growing sweet corns at the garden. Moreover, gardeners can easily manage the size of the raised bed according to the needs using this method.
Wooden Raised Bed
Gardening corn in the front yard of the country house made easy and neat with wooden raised bed. The gardener is able to harvest up to 60 ears of sweet corn each block. Lumbers by 6 inches width are enough to hold the soil necessary to grow the corns. Additionally, the gardeners keep it clean outside the raised bed with dry garden landscaping.
Raised Bed Watering System
As seen in this idea, the gardener necessarily uses soaker hose irrigation to water the sweet corns efficiently. The raised bed made out of pre-assembled board happen to contain 3 rows of corn plants. Thus, this is perfect for effortless corn gardening at home.
Wind Protected Site
Another growing corn in raised bed ideas at house yard could do well with some parallel rows. As the plant grow taller, the gardener build wired iron posts in every corner. Owing to the fact that the area might be too windy, the posts will protect the plant from falling over. This would do great if the gardeners planted beans to accompany the the corns.
Summer Crops Companion Planting to Corn
Side-by-side to the sweet corns in the garden, beans are great addition to grow in the same site. Beans would improve the nitrogen in the soil which sweet corns will benefit from. Cucumbers, pumpkins and melons are also great to grow alongside sweet corns. On the other hands, never plant tomatoes anywhere near the corns since the pests can really affect each other.
Growing Indian Corn
Historically, Indians were the one who taught early colonists in America how to cultivate this oldest variety of corns. People notice Indian corn by the multi-colored kernels in a cob. Other than that, people also call it flint corn since the shell is identified as hard as flint from the starch content. Indian corn is perfect for decoration due to the colorful display to mark the harvest season in fall.
Multicolored Kernels in A Cob
The various color within a single cob is the ultimate character of Indian corn. The colors of the kernel range from white, yellow, to dark blue and red. The colorful pattern in the cob is the result from cross-pollination of plants that is single-shaded. Generally, this type of corn is the one people use to make hominy or polenta.
Ruby Red Strawberry Corn
This one variety of indian corn is special with the red tone in the kernels. The tone varies from ruby to mahogany. People rather use this type of corn for ornamental purposes. Usually, people make a front door decoration out of this red corn in the fall.
Homegrown Blue Corn
These deep blue corns are quite popular back to the previous century. In cultivating, growing blue corns are non-hybrid, corresponds that the gardeners can use last-year’s seed for starting new crops. As for this date, blue corns are popular to make products of blue tortilla, blue-colored pancake mix or cornflakes. It is believed that this product are way better than the similar products made commonly by wheat.
Colorful Striped Leaves of Ornamental Corn
Not only the ears, this corn plant is colorful to the leaves, which have stripes ranging from white, yellow, green to strawberry red. Its unusual display attracts wonder as the prettiest type of corn. This Japonica Striped Corn is also known by the name of ornamental corn from its purpose.
Up to Months of Storage
Indian corns are common for decorative purposes. To serve this purpose effectively, the gardeners let the husks are yellow and dreary before they harvest them. Then the gardeners dry the ears by hanging them under the sun for about a week. Once the ears are dry, they can last to 6 months of shelf-life, perfect for creating fall ornaments.
Growing Corn in Container
Container gardening is also applicable for growing corn. This would be thrilling for the urban gardeners who would enjoy crops right off the house garden. Generally, this idea prefers the dwarf corn varieties. Most importantly, the gardeners need to make sure the quality of compost and fertilized regularly.
Circular Block of Corn
Using round container, this gardener can plant up to 9 dwarf corns. Dwarf corn varieties include Golden Midget, Midget Hybrid, and White Midget. These types of corn grow no more than 5 feet tall. Any round containers such as large buckets are great to use in this scheme.
Movable Corn Container
This container has wheels to move around easily if necessary. It would also work for planting corn in areas with partly-shades. The gardener can move the around to find the perfect spot throughout the day.
This container makes growing dwarf corn accessible for wind-pollination in the yard.The perfect size allows the gardeners to place them in rows without taking up much space in the garden. These containers also allow drip irrigation system installed.
Corn in Pots
If you’re wondering about growing corn in pots, yes, it is possible. The appropriate size of the pot would be around 12 inches deep and wide. However, it is noteworthy to mention that they won’t yield much. Still, it successfully grow corn to be fresh ingredients in the kitchen.
Sweet Corn Grow Bag
Grow bag is also a possibility to grow corn at home. It would help to squeeze in a productive space for gardening in a small yard. Moreover, the material for grow bags can help retain moisture in the soil. Granted that, the roots will do better in absorbing nutrients in the soil.
Growing Corn Indoors
In reality, corn needs sufficient sunlight in growing with the right temperature, wind condition, and soil. Furthermore, the type of roots don’t support transplanting. So, no, we can not grow corn indoors. Unless, we expect another product of it, which is the popcorn shoots!
Edible Popcorn Shoots
Presently, popcorn shoots is gaining popularity as microgreens from corn seeds in variety for popcorn. So what is popcorn shoots exactly? It is the sprouts of popcorn kernels which grow within 8 to 12 days of planting indoors. Popcorn shoots are edible and taste very sweets. It is suitable to mix in a dish or top a dish as a the garnish.
Indoor Yellow Popcorn
Popcorn shoots grows in white and yellow color. To grow popcorn shoots, gardeners soak the kernels in cool water for 12 hours. Then, they rinse and drain them thoroughly twice. The kernels are ready to be planted in the second day, and harvestable sprouts will be on the spot in the next 8 days.
Organic Popcorn Seeds Growing Kit
Aside from it is very easy to grow, popcorn shoots also came in its growing kits. Usually it is inside plastic box, complete with the organic potting mix and the kernels. Anyone would just water the kit and enjoy the shoots in just a week.
Foil Container Corn Shoots
A great idea of growing pop corn shoots would be in a foil container. It is neat and the available in many sizes. After the gardener base it with damp soil, seeds are spread on top and then covered with a lightweight cover. The gardener keep it indoors where it is dark and water them regularly using spray.
Plastic Covered Corn Shoots
Popcorn shoots that is ready to harvest are the ones that feels dry when touched. By that time, the length should have grown for 2 to 4 inches. After being harvested, you can store the shoots in a sealed container and put it inside the fridge.
All in all, growing corn is gratifying, both in the garden and on the plate. As corn is nutritious and tastes amazing, having fresh corn grown successfully is not only productive but also beneficial. Not to mention, corn varies in its purpose and would also serve as decoratives. For gardeners with intention of indoor gardening, they could consider having popcorn shoots. It is quick, easy and overall satisfying.