Corn is the quintessential summer vegetable, and if you want to improve your corn harvest this year, you need some above-average tips.
If you’ve never grown corn, don’t stress. It is a fairly easy crop to grow well, but it takes up space in your garden. You want to make sure that you are trading that space for a good harvest for your family to enjoy.
Last year I still had the best corn harvest after years of growing it in my garden. I wanted to share some of my favorite tips for growing corn in your garden to help you out this year.
trust me; This work!
- 1 11 Tips for Getting the Best Corn Harvest
- 1.1 1. Don’t Plant Too Early
- 1.2 2. Don’t Overcrowd Your Plants
- 1.3 3. Try Three Sisters Garden
- 1.4 4. Have enough plants for pollination
- 1.5 5. Get the pH Range Right
- 1.6 6. Add Plenty of Fertilizer to the Soil
- 1.7 7. Keep Soil Moist
- 1.8 8. Fertilize Regularly
- 1.9 9. Use Mulch to Prevent Weeds
- 1.10 10. Don’t Wait Too Long to Harvest
- 1.11 11. Try a Cover Crop in the Fall Before Planting
- 1.12 Was this article helpful?
- 1.13 We appreciate your helpful feedback!
11 Tips for Getting the Best Corn Harvest
Some of these tips may be something you already do, while others can be a complete surprise. Try to implement as many as possible.
If you do, chances are you’ll have the best corn harvest ever. You’ll have thick, delicious ears of corn, and you might even have extra to keep in your freezer this year!
1. Don’t Plant Too Early
The first mistake you want to avoid when trying to improve your corn harvest is to sow too early.
It’s tempting to plant as soon as the weather warms, but don’t do it. Mother nature is tricky, so while it may seem like the weather is finally right, wait to start planting.
Corn germinates best in soil at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, so use a soil thermometer to make sure it’s warm enough for planting. This means it is best planted after the last frost date in your area; Corn is not frost-hardy.
2. Don’t Overcrowd Your Plants
Corn is a plant that is more often overcrowded. Tomato or pepper plants are easy to place, but since corn is planted by seed and is so narrow and tall, it is not easy to give the plants room to grow.
Corn needs to be spaced 8-12 inches apart. This gives the plants enough room to spread out and get plenty of nutrients and sunlight. This helps prevent the spread of fungal diseases that prefer areas with low air flow and moist conditions.
3. Try Three Sisters Garden
When you grow corn, try to use the knowledge we have from the indigenous population and plant a Three Sister Garden.
You’ll find plenty of ways to use this technique, but the three sisters are corn, beans, and squash.
Try planting beans and squash between rows of corn, or plant pole bean seeds along each corn stalk after they sprout. The beans will use the corn stalks as support and wind up the roots. Again, squash keeps insects and weeds away from your corn and beans.
4. Have enough plants for pollination
Corn is wind-pollinated, and does best when grown in blocks rather than in rows. Growing corn in 4′ x 4′ blocks helps maintain the best pollination rate for your plants.
If you don’t know this, let me just tell you – it’s never a good idea to grow different varieties of corn. They need to be planted separately and at different times to avoid cross-pollination.
Different corn varieties require an interval of 10 days when you plant to avoid cross-pollination, and spacing 25 feet is recommended.
I didn’t know this a few years ago.
I planted two varieties of corn next to each other at the same time. One variety was sweet corn meant to be eaten fresh, and the other was the popcorn variety. They cross-pollinated, and I ended up with inedible sweet corn and popcorn that wasn’t quite what I wanted.
5. Get the pH Range Right
If you want the best corn harvest possible, make sure the soil has the right pH range for growth. The soil should be between 6.0 and 6.8, making it acidic but not super acidic.
Use a soil meter to check the pH range of your soil, and if you need to increase the acidity of the soil, try sulfur or aluminum sulfate, but use caution and follow the manufacturer’s directions closely.
While your corn plants will grow outside this pH range, the best corn harvest occurs when the plants are growing in their ideal range.
6. Add Plenty of Fertilizer to the Soil
Some people think that corn plants are not heavy feeders, but this is not true. You need to make sure you fertilize your soil before you plant in the spring.
All you have to do is add several inches of compost to the top of your garden soil and mix well. This gives your corn plants plenty of nutrients as they sprout and start growing. A good start with plenty of nutrients is an important way to improve your corn harvest.
7. Keep Soil Moist
I realized last year that I never water my garden as much as I think it needs. The directions say corn should be watered once or twice, but since I make sure I have well-draining soil, I’ve found that my corn grows better with more water than that.
They do best if I water my corn three to four times per week, especially when the seeds are in the process of sprouting and sprouting. Keep the soil moist during germination.
Corn roots are shallow, so watering deeply isn’t as helpful because the roots aren’t going to be deep enough to find water. That’s why using soaker hoses is a great way to make sure your corn plants get all the water they need.
Honestly, if you ignore all the tips for the best corn harvest, but make sure this is the tip you remember!
8. Fertilize Regularly
In case you didn’t know, corn is a hungry plant and requires regular fertilization to grow and flourish. Consistently released fertilizer is a good idea because it gives plants what they need throughout the growing season.
See the colors of the corn leaves. If they turn pale green or yellow, the plants need to be fed again.
Corn requires a lot of nitrogen, so one of the best ways to meet the needs is to apply a fish emulsion weekly. A foliar feeding of kelp fertilizer is great when succulents appear on the plant.
9. Use Mulch to Prevent Weeds
Mulch may seem like an optional step when growing corn, but it is not. This is a necessary step to improve the corn harvest.
Apply several inches of mulch around the base of your corn plants as this helps suppress weed growth and keeps the soil as consistently moist as possible. Weeds are a problem when growing corn because they steal the nutrients your heavily fed plants need for optimum harvest.
10. Don’t Wait Too Long to Harvest
One mistake I see when growing corn is that it is too late to harvest the corn. Most plants produce two ears of corn per stalk, but some hybrid plants can produce more.
The best way to determine whether an ear of corn is ready for harvest is to look at the silk. Corn silks should be brown and dry and slightly fresh green at the base. When you squeeze the husk, the ear should be thick, not thin.
11. Try a Cover Crop in the Fall Before Planting
Here’s another tip that made a huge difference to me when growing corn. Crops such as winter rye, black medicine, vetch and clover can be planted in the fall, and they add tons of nitrogen to the soil.
Remember, corn loves nitrogen! If you want to improve your corn harvest, give those stalks plenty of nutrition.
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