opabinia51
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CORN

There are actually a plethora of differnet varieties of corn out there that people don't normally think of: This year I am growing an eating corn called Golden Bantam Corn (an heirloom variety), another variety that I am going to make flour from but you can also eat called Indian Blue Corn (another Heirloom), Andian Blue Corn (destined to be flour and yes, it is also an Heirloom) and finally, Pink Pomegranate Popcorn.
You guessed what I will be using the last one for. You can also eat the last variety when it is young.

Anyway, Corn is a heavy feeder and needs to be grown in soil that is highly enriched with nutrients. It is very important to add lots of compost, manure and such to the soil before planting the corn. I personally have really sandy soil in my garden and have layed down a layer of manure followed by coffee grindings and coffee bean chaff. After that, I put another layer of manure, followed by a layer of excellant soil that we made last year. (Actually, the worms made it)

Anyway, if it only the plan were that simple. Manures don't just include animal excrement. On March 1 I will be planting white clover over my entire garden but, extra densely in the corn area. After mowing it a few times, the clover will be turned into the soil. Finally, along with the corn there will be peas, beans, melons, cucumbers and potatoes planted in the same area. These are all companion plants of CORN .
Also, I plant on planting some corn in the area where I will be growing my squash as corn is a companion plant to squash. And a note on different manures. Corn does not grow well in Chicken manure. And I have chicken manure in the squash area of my garden. Therefore, I do not expect to get any fruit from the corn up there.

Now, you know everything I know about corn.

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As always, you go above and beyond in soil prep Opa. I'm sure your garden will reflect it in the long run. Good soil keeps plants healthy without the need for chemigation, a win for you and a win for the environment...

Here's another soil additive to ponder on. A lot of the organic folks in this neck of the woods are starting to rave about stone dust (not the construction material of the same name, but dust from stone cutting) as a soil additive. Higher yields, sturdier plants, better drought and cold tolerance; any number of benefits are being attributed (the going application is 14 lb.s per 100 sq. ft., but rates three times that show good results ands no adverse effects). I'd love to hear your take on it as a biologist, Opa, and certainly from anyone with first hand experience...

Scott

opabinia51
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Well, given the cold tolerance I would start thinking of various elements in the rock but, to start going there I would have to know what rock the dust came from. ie) Is the stone a granite? Is it Marble? Once I knew that, I would know what elements are being added to the soil. I'll have to do some research to see what "Stone Dust" does for the soil.

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The "study" I was made aware of was done in Massachussets with dust from a monument cutter; they said mostly granite, but who knows?

If granite then lots of potassium, right? That would make some sense...

opabinia51
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Well, I saw somewhere on the Interenet or rather IN THE INTERNET that rock dust does supply potassium. I'd have to check on the Granite thing though... it's been a few years since I've taken any Earth and Ocean Science courses. Though, it would make sense with the potassium thing.

opabinia51
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Granite dust has an NPK value of: 0/0/3.5-5.5

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KNEW you would have an answer...

8)

opabinia51
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Found it in a book on composting that I was reading at the Horticultural Center of the Pacific library last weekend.

opabinia51
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BACK TO CORN:


Planting corn: When planting corn the seeds should be planted between 1/2 inch to no more than 4 inches deep. This said, the deeper the better, 3 inches being the optimum depth.
As the seed germinates the stem and root grow from what is called a mesocotyl. Once the mesocotyl reaches the sun, it stops growing the stem grows from it. Therefore, if you plant your seeds 1/2 inch deep the roots will only have 1/2 inch to grow from but, if you plant the seeds 3 inches deep, the roots will be able to grow from 3 inches of mesocotyl the the plant will be that much more stable and have that much more surface area to extract nutrients from the soil.
Interplanting with corn: When planting beans and peas with the corn be sure to plant the non corn seeds at least one inch away from the corn plant Also, plant the beans on the South side of the corn patch. Be sure to give the corn plants a few weeks head start before planting the beans.
Last edited by opabinia51 on Wed Mar 16, 2005 9:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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I take it that planting is nearly underway (said the snow-bound tundra dweller)...

opabinia51
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Well, indoor planting is well underway. Tomatoes and plants that attract beneficial insects are all seeded indoors or in cold frames. The first of my corn will be planted most likely in mid or late April with some Plastic sheeting over the soil to warm it up. Peas will be planted at the same time (provided it's not to wet).
But, I'm reading a great book called: The Book of Garden Secrets and the above information came from there.... as well as the plastic sheeting tip. The sheets warm the soil up such that you can plant your corn earlier.
:idea: Actually, is some studies down it was found that corn in soil of 65 degrees took 10-12 days to germinate and corn in soil of 95 degrees toook 2 days to germinate. :idea: Though to me, 95 seems a little hot. :?

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yea at that temp what are you doing to your soil flora?

opabinia51
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Actually the research said that the high temperature killed the weed seeds/seedlings and most of the pathogens but, did not harm the beneficial fauna. And as far as flora was concerned, I guess all they were interested in was the corn. Still, I think 95 is a little extreme. I'm thinking athat 70 to 80 will be enough for me. But, at least I know that if the soil is really hot that my corn will still germinate.

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When using bottom heat in a propagation range the mean is that 75 to 80 degrees range, so I think your on the right track...

opabinia51
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I've been reading about a bunch of other vegetable seeds like onions and cole crops and they seem to be able to germinate at temperatures as high as 95 as well. Though, the literature says that most of the seeds germinate best between 75 and 80. Some are actually best germinated as low as 65.

Extremes on both ends.
Last edited by opabinia51 on Fri Sep 23, 2005 11:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Like everything else in life... :wink:

opabinia51
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MORE ON CORN;

For those who plan on growing more than one variety of corn: Corn uses wind to spread its pollen. Therefore, if you were to plant Hopi Blue Corn next to Golen Bantam corn it is very likely that the Hopi blue Pollen could land on the Golden Bantam Stigmas.
If you do not have a huge garden to spread the different varieties out you can counteract this by planting the different varieties on diferent dates. Give about 7 to 10 days of separation between plantings.

Of course, you could also throw caution to the wind (pun) and let nature take it's course and plant everything on the same date and have cobs with intermingled coloured corn as well. Genetic Diversity Baby! It's the spice of life!

(It is not my plan to do this)

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WHAT? You're not going to let Mother Nature make your selections for you? :shock: :lol:

I suspect you are trying to set aside some seed for the following season, so it is most understandable you are trying to keep your strains pure. Having talked to John about the amount of space necessary to keep cross-pollination from happening, I'd say you have your work cut out for you...

Scott

opabinia51
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Yes I know. I have read that corn planted several miles away from eachother have even cross pollinated but, that is the what keeps everything so diverse in this world. :D
The real reason why I don't want.... or rather, want as little cross pollination as possible is that I have that Pink Pomegranate Popping corn that I want to grow up. Don't want any purple or yellow corn mixed with that.

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I have seen those mini ears as indian corn colors, so it sure is possible...

Might want to bag some of those flowers and hand pollinate, Opa...

Scott

opabinia51
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Yes, I will have to bag. My guess is that I will have to hand pollinate the corn if I bag it? Yes/no?
So long as we are talking about bagging flowers for pollination, would the same go for Dhalias? ie) would you have to hand pollinate them after bagging them?

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Yep and Yep...

No rest for the wicked... :lol:

Scott

opabinia51
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I guess that's the fun in gardening!! (One more thing to do, lots of fun :o ). Thanks for the tip about bagging Scott. :wink:

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As long as you enjoy it it's not work...

HG

opabinia51
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A labour of love. (note all this Canadian spelling :wink: ) Yes, I will be planting my Hopi Blue Corn this weekend (most likely on Sunday) and then the Pomegranate Corn Next Weekend and the Indian Blue the Following weekend and finally, the golen Bantam the weekend after that.

My Aunt has a garden a couple of hundred feet below mine on the same piece of property, I'm going to ask her if I can use part of her garden to plant some of my corn, in hopes of keeping the strains as pure as possible.

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Could be enough space...

opabinia51
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Well, that idea went sour but, she did give me the tip of planting the corn on mounds. This will ensure that the corn will pollinate itself. As far as cross pollination is concerned... well, C'est la vie. If that happens, as I said before, genetic diversity is the spice of life!!!

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Why would the mounds help pollination? I'm baffled... :?

opabinia51
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Corn is wind pollinated and when you only have a few plants and not many, many rows it the wind is not always cooperative in dispersing the pollen over all of the adjacent flowers. :( Therefore, if you plant them on mounds, the corn plants surround one another and they are all on somewhat of a slope and the pollen is more easily distributed to each plant. :)
It can simple fall down to the adjacent flowers and when the wind comes up, the plants are already surrounding one another and the pollen, lands on the flowers. Cool huh? It's amazing what our relatives can teach us.

I'm planting my Pink Pomegranate Popping Corn at my place tonight. Just have them soaking in some water now.

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Primitive tech strikes again! Good stuff Opa! :D

Scott

opabinia51
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Primitive technology, it's the wave of the future!!! :D This weekend I will be planting my Pink Popping corn at my large Vegetable garden. Lots of fun.

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I still have to build a garden to plant in! :P

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