Charlie MV
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another corn question

This has been discussed here but I'm really baffled now. Last year we planted one corn patch in an established garden that has been heavily augmented with compost for 50+ years. We plant silver queen btw. Last years corn grew almost 12 feet high. We got 1 ear from each plant for the most part and 2 ears from some. Several people here mentioned that they got 3 or 4 ears per plant.

This year I plowed another plot that hasn't been gardened ever. So I planted 1500 sf of corn in the old garden and 1000 sf in the new plot. I'm getting 1 ear on most plants and 2 on some...again,,,in both plots. The old plot is still growing extremely tall healthy corn and the new plot is growing shorter healthy corn...with one ear on most and 2 on a few.

This is driving me nuts. How do I up my yield on each plant? I want 3 or 4 ears like other people told me they get. Were they yanking me? What am I doing or not doing? I prepped both plots the same way. I composted heavily at the end of last season. I planted annual rye for the winter. I tilled in March and with compost and well composted manure. I planted and covered all with 2 inches of compost. When the corn gets about 18 inches tall, I rake and hoe about 4 inches of dirt and compost up against the plants mainly to protect it from winds. I use an organic nitrogen and a Harmony fertilizer. The Harmony is dried chicken manure judging from the smell. I apply the nitrogen,
wait 3 weeks and apply the Harmony. I wait 3 weeks and repeat alternating the two.

Healthy plants and extremely tasty corn aren't an issue. I just want to up my yield. What else should I do or not do

cynthia_h
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I haven't grown corn (except for one year, a 4 plant x 4 plant block), but I wonder whether the "3 or 4 ear" people were growing a different variety?

It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job! :D

Or were you hoping for sufficient surplus to start a veggie stand? In that case, the variety might well make a difference.

I, too, hope to hear from the "3 or 4 ear" people, but many posters from last year haven't shown up yet this season...

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

Charlie MV
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cynthia_h wrote:I haven't grown corn (except for one year, a 4 plant x 4 plant block), but I wonder whether the "3 or 4 ear" people were growing a different variety?

It sounds like you're doing a wonderful job! :D

Or were you hoping for sufficient surplus to start a veggie stand? In that case, the variety might well make a difference.

I, too, hope to hear from the "3 or 4 ear" people, but many posters from last year haven't shown up yet this season...

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

I've wondered the same thing about variety but I'm pretty sure some were growing the silver queen. I won't change variety because I took over this plot from my pa in law and the family would mutiny without their silver queen.

Thanks for the props and no , no vege stand. i like a year round supply of veges. We fill 2 freezers and I don't share. They can have my food when they pry it from my cold dead fingers. My wife wanted to send a nephew from Ala. home from the annual 4th of July visit with okra last year. I wanted to go to the farmers market and buy him some. Charlie don''t share. My wife over ruled me. It was a dog fight for a day or two. Did I mention I like to eat?

cynthia_h
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Charlie MV wrote:I've wondered the same thing about variety but I'm pretty sure some were growing the silver queen. I won't change variety because I took over this plot from my pa in law and the family would mutiny without their silver queen.

Thanks for the props and no , no vege stand. i like a year round supply of veges. We fill 2 freezers and I don't share. They can have my food when they pry it from my cold dead fingers. My wife wanted to send a nephew from Ala. home from the annual 4th of July visit with okra last year. I wanted to go to the farmers market and buy him some. Charlie don''t share.

Hmmm...maybe it's time to break out that children's book, "The Little Red Hen"? :wink:

My sister visited us maybe in November just ahead of Thanksgiving. The rapini was going crazy; DH and I *had* to eat it two or three times a week just to catch up with it--my one true success of last year!

So I cooked a meal including rapini for her. It's the only produce she's had from our garden, except for some carrots she and I ate as snacks a couple of weeks ago, when I finally pulled the rest of my carrots while she was here. I'll feed folks when they're here, but that produce ain't goin' nowhere without *me*...

Cynthia

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rootsy
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side dress it with 46-0-0 before a rain or get some 28% liquid along side of it... That'll get it going.

I have NEVER in my LIFE seen 3 or even 4 marketable ears come off of a stalk of sweet corn... Of any variety... 2 at the most and that is with good growing conditions, abundant nutrients and excess GDD's. I've seen a lot of corn... I probably average 50% yield on 2nd marketable ears...

I don't want to insult anyone.. but compared to the available augmented super sweet, triple sweet and superlite varieties available today.. Silver Queen is good for.. chicken and hog feed... The sweetness and holding ability are just not there in that variety for today's consumer demands... But then again there are plenty of white varieties out there that fit what I have mentioned above and some still call it Silver Queen when in fact it is anything but. Kind of like calling anything build by GM a Chevy... eventhough it may be a Buick or Pontiac.

[img]https://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n27/jaroot13/Farming%20Photos/thismorning.jpg[/img]

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Kisal
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I'm sure 2 ears per stalk is the best we ever got from our sweet corn. I've never heard of anyone getting more, but most of the people I know don't even grow corn. For some reason, they think it can't be frozen.

Charlie MV
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rootsy wrote:.

I don't want to insult anyone.. but compared to the available augmented super sweet, triple sweet and superlite varieties available today.. Silver Queen is good for.. chicken and hog feed...

[img]https://i108.photobucket.com/albums/n27/jaroot13/Farming%20Photos/thismorning.jpg[/img]
ROFLMAO, now how could anybody possibly be insulted by that? My wife is asking me what's wrong 'cause I've laughed till I cried.

Rootsy, I've spent my life on boats. I was a helmsman on a destroyer for 4 years. I've piloted boats for 35 years. I was sitting with a friend in Charleston watching a "captain crunch" do a horrible job docking a 35 footer. It was calm, windless and beautiful. He was screaming at his wife and she was screaming at him. He managed to hit 3 boats and then get sideways in his slip. I looked at my friend and remarked "farmer". We got a good laugh. I've been growing veges for 2 years. You just called me a sailor.

I'll try the 46-0-0.I've been using 26-0-0. It sounds like 2 ears is the best I'll do though. I can't wait to tell my in laws [mainly my nephews and neices] that they're a bunch of hogs. I'll save that one for Thanksgiving dinner. I really have no idea what our corn is except its whiter than most, sweet and the bin the guy gets it out of says "silver queen".

After what you and Kisal tell me I feel better. I walked the garden with a nephew a few minutes ago and there appear to be more stalks with 2 ears than one this year. I'd still like to see 3 or 4.

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freedhardwoods
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Re: another corn question

Charlie MV wrote:Were they yanking me?
Yes.

One or two good ears is all you will normally get. I have found that Silver Queen is much more tolerant of hot, dry weather conditions than many other varieties.

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jal_ut
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The spacing of the rows and the spacing of the seed in the rows, the variety of corn and the fertility of the soil all have a bearing on the yield.

I find that one seed every foot in the row and rows 30 to 36 inches apart gives me some very nice large ears and two ears per stalk.

If the corn is not crowded and the soil is fertile, corn will usually send out two suckers from ground level. These suckers may or may not produce an ear of corn, but if they do you can get up to 4 ears of corn per plant. Whether these suckers produce eras or not, the sucker still adds leaf area to produce more food for the plant, which will mean larger ears on the main stalk.

I have found that corn that is planted too closely sometimes won't produce an ear at all and just grows stalk. It won't send out suckers, and any ears you do get will be small.

I planted a really dense planting one time to see if I could get a big harvest in a small space. I had 8 rows 15 inches apart and seed every 4 inches apart. The rows were 20 feet long. It was interesting to note that the only plants that had any ears on them was those in the outside rows and one or two plants on the end of each row. The rest of the planting was stalks only. None of this planting sent out any suckers. I could have got more and better corn with three rows spaced wider.

My recommendation is to plant in rows 30 to 36 inches apart, and seed from 8 inches to a foot in the row. Fertilize with some 32-0-0 at time of planting and again side dress with 32-0-0 when the corn is about two feet tall. By the time the corn is dropping pollen, it is too late to get much benefit from additional fertilization.
Last edited by jal_ut on Sun Jun 14, 2009 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

Charlie MV
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jal_ut wrote:The spacing of the rows and the spacing of the seed in the rows, the variety of corn and the fertility of the soil all have a bearing on the yield.

I find that one seed every foot in the row and rows 30 to 36 inches apart gives me some very nice large ears and two ears per stalk.


My recommendation is to plant in rows 30 to 36 inches apart, and seed from 8 inches to a foot in the row. Fertilize with some 32-0-0 at time of planting and again side dress with 32-0-0 when the corn is about two feet tall. By the time the corn is dropping pollen, it is too late to get much benefit from additional fertilization.
I did plant rows 36 inches apart with plants spaced at 10 inches. Good to know that I am wasting fertilizer after the corn pollinates. I was hoping to hear from you and rootsy. I thought I remembered you two in particular dealing with a good bit of corn. I'm becoming less of a sailor thanks to all the folks at this sight.

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jal_ut
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Lately I have been planting Ambrosia corn. It has yellow and white kernels. It is a nice sweet corn that keeps well on the stalk. It will also keep for up to ten days in the refrigerator. It is not quite as tall nor as wind resistant as some varieties I have grown, but it gives a good yield of nice, big, sweet ears. My Avatar shows a few ears of Ambrosia.

Freeze corn? Yes! It freezes vary well. We always cut it off the cob. Takes lots less space in the freezer. It sure tastes good in the winter.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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freedhardwoods
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jal_ut wrote:I have found that corn that is planted too closely sometimes won't produce an ear at all and just grows stalk. It won't send out suckers, and any ears you do get will be small.

I planted a really dense planting one time to see if I could get a big harvest in a small space. I had 8 rows 15 inches apart and seed every 4 inches apart. The rows were 20 feet long. It was interesting to note that the only plants that had any ears on them was those in the outside rows and one or two plants on the end of each row. The rest of the planting was stalks only. None of this planting sent out any suckers. I could have got more and better corn with three rows spaced wider.

My recommendation is to plant in rows 30 to 36 inches apart, and seed from 8 inches to a foot in the row. Fertilize with some 32-0-0 at time of planting and again side dress with 32-0-0 when the corn is about two feet tall. By the time the corn is dropping pollen, it is too late to get much benefit from additional fertilization.
I have planted Silver Queen in 36" rows with 2"-4" spacing for several years. By the time the ears start coming on, it is hard to find a place to get even a finger hoe between the plants. It always produces 1 or 2 very large ears on every stalk. Many of the suckers produce an ear also, but they are usually not big enough to bother with. Maybe it is the difference in soil that allows it to work for me.

My wife wanted me to plant a yellow variety this year so I planted about 2 pounds of Illini Extra Sweet. From what I can see so far, I don't think it is going to produce nearly as good as Silver Queen. The early corn I planted is showing tassles at 3'. :x

I agree on the nitrogen. I use urea (46-0-0). Corn doesn't care what type of nitrogen you feed it as long as it is readily available. If you add some type of material that slowly releases its nitrogen, the corn won't get it untill it is too late. I like to sidedress twice. First when the corn is 4'-6" tall, and then at about 2'

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jal_ut
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Healthy plants and extremely tasty corn aren't an issue. I just want to up my yield.
Plant another acre.
Gardening at 5000 feet elevation, zone 4/5 Northern Utah, Frost free from May 25 to September 8 +/-

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Pebbles
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I couldn't believe that you may only get one or two cobs of corn on each plant. I really believed that they would grow like tomatoes or peppers and have maybe 10 to 20 cobs of corn each. Just shows how little I know.

cynthia_h
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Dear pebbles: impress your friends all to "heck"--tell 'em you planted corn for the ears *and* for biomass to put into your compost pile. (It *is* why you planted corn, isn't it? :wink:) That way, 100% of the plant will be useful! :)

My sunflowers last year were for seeds *and* biomass. In fact, the stalks got so thick that I still haven't chopped them up into pieces... :oops:

Cynthia

Charlie MV
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i gotta say I agree Cynthia. Corn easily made up 15 to 20% of my compost pile this year. We had to cut doewn a chestnut tree and via the chipper/shredder, it filled 1/4 of one of our 4 bins. The corn crop filled the rest of that bin and part of another.

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rootsy
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That 300 acres of dent corn behind the sweet corn in my photo all gets chopped for silage to feed the girls...

I chop all of my stalks right in the field after all marketable ears are gone and then plowed under in the fall. What I don't chop I bundle in groups of 20 and sell with the pumpkins in the fall...

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Pebbles
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errrrr yes Cynthia, of course that is why I planted the corn..... :? :oops: :roll: - I think.

Thanks for the tips for the compost :wink:

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I can't imagine farmers only get 2 ears per stalk. Hardly seems worth the while or a money maker. We grew corn last year and I'm sure we had at least 3 ears per stalk.
Michele

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Charlie MV
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chefshelle wrote:I can't imagine farmers only get 2 ears per stalk. Hardly seems worth the while or a money maker. We grew corn last year and I'm sure we had at least 3 ears per stalk.
Michelle, if you're talking about sweet corn, please tell me how you do it. You're the only one so far on this thread to say you get 3 ears per stalk. I'm all ears. :)

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rootsy
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chefshelle wrote:I can't imagine farmers only get 2 ears per stalk. Hardly seems worth the while or a money maker. We grew corn last year and I'm sure we had at least 3 ears per stalk.
well lets do some math quick... Just some quick economics of your statement...

22,000 population final stand after taking into account germination and other loss.... this is per acre... X say 1.5 ears / stalk average... thats... 33,000 ears in a 209ft x 209 ft space... or 2750 dozen / acre.... if 100% are marketable @ $4 / doz retail thats $11,000 per acre gross sales...

This is in a perfect world... In reality.. multiply that times about .8

Figure input cost... 25,000 seeds / acre planted... cost roughly $6 / 1000 seeds for what I put in the ground... so $150 for seed

Then you have starter fertilizer.. whether granulated or liquid.. I use granulated 11-52-0... Cost is about $15 / acre

Then I side dress with 150 lbs / acre of 28-0-0 liquid... Cost is about $18 / acre

I do no burndown and I do no post herbicide application... herbicide cost = $0

Late season I have to use a pyrethroid otherwise everyone will eat wormy corn... $4 / acre applied...

Coste me about $5 in fuel / acre to do soil prep...

Costs me about $1.50 for fuel / acre in the planting tractor

Costs me about $3/ acre each time I cultivate.. X 2 so $6 / acre

Then there is the hired help... $6 / hr to the local high school kids a day X 2... so $12 / hr can pick an acre of corn in a few hours. So figure $25 - $30 / acre

I sell from stand or at market so I will have some fuel costs... $5 / truck load or so...

Plus maintenance costs on equipment.. I figure $100 / acre / season... That's if nothing major breaks...

Adding it up.... Costs me about $350 / acre roughly to grow sweet corn... Not counting my time...

Produce, if managed correctly and grown on a decent scale can be quite a profitable venture... If you have the gumption, desire, work ethic and ambition to do it... Quite a bit different than cash crop production (soybeans, wheat, dent corn, cotton, etc). Much more labor intensive.. especially if you chose not to use modern chemistry.

You want something that REALLY has big profit margin potential? grow pumpkins...

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