Sweet Corn Gardening in Backyard
Today, we learn the topic of sweet corn gardening in your home backyard.Growing corn in your backyard: Corn is a crop which most of us think as a something which is grown in large-scale as we always see it growing in hundreds or dozens of rows in fields. But, if you want to harvest the corn ears just minutes before you grill it or boil it and want your guests and family to enjoy it, you can refer to grow corn in your backyard. Of course, you will also get a very good harvest from a very little space like just 12-15 square feet. When you have decided to grow corn in your backyard, you will enjoy the benefits of a beautiful scenery as you will be able to see the stalks which are climbing to an average height of 8 feet based on the corn type you are growing, environmental conditions in your locality and the care and maintenance of your crop. This article will help you to know how to grow corn in your backyard or helps you in the process of growing corn in small gardens.
Types of corn:
There are basically four types of corns:
- Dent corn
- Flint corn
- Sweet corn
Steps to grow corn in your backyard:
Planning the space for your corn:
- The first thing you will need to do for growing corn in the backyard successfully is planning the space you are going to dedicate. Though you may be very passionate to grow the corn in long rows across a fence or in between the other crops of your garden, you will end up knowing that this design will not work out for your harvest.
- Most of the home gardeners grow plants for food. But corn is different from all of those crops. It will not get pollinated by insects, bees or butterflies. You can see a tassel which is located at the top of the stalk. Because of this tassel, it is important that the plantation of corn is done in blocks or rows with at least 2-3 rows of stalks. As you are interested to plant the stalks with a distance of 1 foot, you have to go for the creation of block in a space which is at least 3×5 feet or 4×5 feet. In fact, you can also plan for a large space in order to get a bigger crop when the time of harvest arrives, but this is the least size you can dedicate for your corn to grow.
- It is always perfect to select a location which is in the complete sun or receives sunlight for most hours of the day. Corn will need a lot more water than many of the plants which produce food and are found commonly in the backyard gardens. Hence, you will have to always remember that if you are designing a garden, make sure that you are grouping the plants which are similar needs for water.
- Corn can also be grown directly on the ground in large containers or raised bed gardens which can be placed to form rows.
Preparation of soil for sweet corn gardening:
Corn will require more nutrients than other common garden plants. It also likes the soil which is well-drained, acidic and with a pH at 6 to 6.8. You can till the soil at the top up to 8 to 10 inches. This will help in loosening the earth and in the improvement of drainage by the amendment of soil. You have to do this anyways for the addition of nutrients. Combining a little amount of compost from your local garden center is a very good way for the addition of nutrients to the soil when you are preparing it for plantation.
Plantation of corn seeds:
The seeds of corn have to be placed at a distance of one foot, but most of the gardeners will prefer to plant them closer to each other and then start thinning the seedlings once they are grown to a height of few inches. Each and every seed have to be placed at 1.5-inch depth under the ground and have to be covered with soil. This is how to plant corn by hand. As soon as you plant the corn, you will need to water it sufficiently so that the soil gets moist.
Watering the corn:
Corn is never a plant which is tolerant to drought and will require regular watering. Germination of seeds will take a time of 2 weeks and at this time, you will have to water the place on a regular basis so that the soil will be moist. As soon as you have seedlings which are a few inches in height, you can water it deep for one time or two times in a week when the climate is specifically hot or dry.
Fertilization of your crop:
You will need to fertilize your crop of corn for at least once in two months in its cycle of growth. You will have to select a fertilizer which has a rich content of nitrogen if you want to get the best results.
Hand Pollination of corn:
If you have planted your corn in rows which are at least at a depth of three feet, you will have a crop which is successful without any hand pollination. But if you want your corn to produce to its maximum, it is always a good idea to assist the process of pollination. For doing this, you will need to remove a tassel from one of your stalks and then dust skills in a light manner with the help of the tassel for the distribution of pollen. You will have to do this every day in the morning for almost a week to make sure that the pollination is proper.
Harvesting the corn:
Once you see the silks are almost dry and brown, it is the right time to check the ears to see if they are ready for the harvest. The simplest way to check for the harvest time of your corn is to open the husk slowly just to poke the kernel with your nails. The liquid which comes out should be a bit milky. If it is like water, then it is not the time of harvest. In such cases, the corn will taste more like starch and is also edible.
Storage of your corn:
If it is possible, always prefer to harvest your corn just before you plan to consume it. If you feel that it is not possible to do so, you can always opt for storage. Corn can be stored in refrigerators until you want to use it for a meal. If the harvest of your corn is abundant and you have too much of corn that you cannot eat at one, you can opt for blanching it and freeze it for the use in future. As an alternative, you can also grind the dry part of your corn for cornmeal.
sweet corn gardening Indoors:
Actually, corn has to be grown in the outdoor locations keeping them under the full sun at the time of summer, but if you do not have enough space or if you want to try something in a different way, you can try to grow corn in the indoor location. This house plant is generally unusual, buy it may give you one or two meals.
Steps for sweet corn gardening indoors:
- The first thing you will need to do is to select a sunny place which is available in your indoor location. Always try to get a large window which is facing towards the direction west or south, a sunroom. The window can also be under the skylight.
- Now it is time to offer a supplement for the light. Corn will normally take a lot of light. It can as much as possible light if you keep giving. So it is always better to take into consideration the supplementation of light mainly if you have taken this getting corn indoors experiment seriously. You might get a need to supplement the light if you are not having sufficient light which is available naturally. You can go for fluorescent bulbs if necessary as a supplement for natural light.
- Select a container which is large for growing your corn. You can try a washtub or something which is of the same size. Like any other houseplant, make sure that you are protecting the underneath surface. You can make use of a plant saucer which is large in between the floor and container.
- The soil has to be filled in the container. You can make use of a potting mix which is rich in the content of nutrients and organic matter. As an alternative, you can also consider adding fertilizers as per the instructions are given in the package.
- Start growing from the seed. The seeds have to be planted in the soil at a depth of 1 inch and at a distance of 4-5 inches from each other.
- Watering has to be done as per requirement. You will need to be patient until the soil top gets dried and also it is better not to water too much that you are seeing the roots standing in the water. Always make sure that you are checking for moisture before watering the plants. Always check on a weekly basis and keep in mind that the containers which are kept in the indoor locations will need less water than the ones which are located in the outdoor locations.
- You can start thinning five plants for one large container. You will need to select the ones which are growing stronger and remove the others.
- You can help them in the process of pollination. The perfect pollinator for the growth of corn is the wind which will never be available in the indoor locations. Rather than that, you can try shaking the plants in a gentle manner as you will see tassels appearing slowly. The tassels will help in the production of pollen and the silk will start receiving it. Each and every strand of silk will correspond to one kernel.
- You can start harvesting your corn whenever you have planned to consume it. Corn will be ready for harvest when you see the juice which is coming from the kernel is milky. Other symptoms are brown silk but you will see a green husk. When you are confident that an ear is ready for harvest, you can remove it off the stalk by twisting it and make sure that you are cooking it as soon as possible.
That’s all folks about sweet corn gardening techniques, ideas, and tips.
Read: Weekend Farming.