Toxic1979
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Corn Density in raised beds

My first time attempting to plant corn. Starting them from seedlings, and planning on transplanting them into raised beds.

My first learning: Corn grows FAST! lol

I had only planned on planting about 8 corn plants. From reading a few posts, I understand that I should be planting many more. My big concern is the spacing inside the raised bed. I have not built the raised yet, but I had planned on building a 2'x8' (2"x10" boards) raised bed solely for the corn, and a few bean plants surrounding it to fill a few spaces.

From reading posts, I may have to re think this plan. I was also going to plant them close to the fence, but I have read not to do that either.

If I re-sized the raised bed to a 4'x4' (2" x 10" boards), how should I space the plants? And should I stagger the transplants in the rows? I've read too much conflicting opinion and advice on how to space corn. I figured, because they are so large, they should have more space between each other..... apparently corn is the exception...lol!

Thanks in advance!

imafan26
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

In a 4x4 bed you can plant 16 corn plants 12 inches apart. Ideally they should be 18 inches. If you bag the tassels and hand polinate the silks you might get fuller ears. James said if they are too close they don't get full ears. The outside corn usually does not make full ears all the time because it is out of range of the polin from the other plants.

Corn is fast. It is usually direct seeded because it does not transplant all that well. Some people drop two seeds instead of one to make sure there aren't any spaces and remove the weaker seedling. All the corn must be up in two weeks or the timing on the polination will be off.

Corn is a heavy feeder so you need a nitrogen rich soil. I only do one side dressing but some people will do two one after the seedlings are about 2 weeks old and another in about a month. Nitrogen should be divided for all plants. Too much when you plant seeds and the seeds won't sprout. Nitrogen does not hang around so it is best to divide the total requirement into 2-3 applications.
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rainbowgardener
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I have a 4x4 raised bed. It has 18 silver queen corn plants in it. Most people would say that's too many. I haven't grown corn in years and never like this, so it's an experiment. We will see what happens....

It is growing really fast!
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Toxic1979
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I've got "welcome" corn planted. Roughly how long should it take for the corn to be somewhat harvestable?

I only ask, because I would rather sow direct, vs. transplant them. We usually get good warm/ hot weather between mid june until mid September.

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jal_ut
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

Best to direct seed corn.
Welcome is a 73 day corn. I believe that will be ready 73 days after it germinates, not after planting. I also find that it will vary on your climate. I know that here at this elevation 70 day corn takes closer to 80 days. You can plant corn a week before your last average frost date, It will survive a light frost. Best to plant two or more rows for pollination. Plants can be fairly close in the row, 8 to 10 inches.
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jal_ut
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I once thought I would make a dense planting and get a truckload of corn from a 12 X 12 foot bed. I put a seed every 12 inches. That is one seed for each square foot of the bed. Well the only corn that had any ears on it was those on the outer fringe of the patch. All those in the center make tall stalks but no ears on the stalks. Yes, corn is a large plant and needs some room, but also benefits from a group planting so it gets pollinated. When we figure out how dense to plant our variety, we will be successful!

I have this little wheel planter that drops seed using a little disc. I used masking tape to close every other hole in the disc so I was only dropping half the corn the wheel was designed for and the corn patch does well without the need to thin.
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imafan26
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I plant silver queen and UH #9 or #10. The UH varieties were developed here and are tropical varieties that are maize mosaic virus resistant and will tassel with my short days. I can technically grow tropical corn almost year round but only grow silver queen from Mar-September. I plant actually every six inches but some will fail to grow or die off. The first ears are usually filled but the second ears only 1/3 are full and the rest are spotty. The third ears usually do not mature at all. If I have my whole 4x8 space to plant in I usually get 47 plants producing 67 ears. With the aloe and Jamaican oregano taking up some of the space I can only get 39 plants in and some will still die off or fail to sprout or get eaten by snails so I actually get fewer ears around 20 so a bigger block is better.
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

The spacing and planting widths provided for corn in all the literature are designed for hundreds of acres of farmland and enormous combine harvesting machines. In a home garden, pollination is far from guaranteed and so packing the plants in tightly is essential. In a 4 x 4 bed, I would plant three rows with 8" spacing between plants, double seed in each hole and thin to one plant. I would also hand-pollinate by cutting off tassles with scissors and shaking them onto the silks when the time is right.
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imafan26
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I think Jal-ut pointed out in a previous post that if the corn is too close, then polination decreases. That being said I usually plant corn every 6 inches but I do not expect all of them to come up.
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jal_ut
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

Corn is a large plant so it does need some space, yet it benefits from company so it gets pollinated. I always suggest planting at least three rows spaced 30 inches with plants about every foot in the row. Of course I grow out in the field, have never planted corn in a "BED". All I can say is try something. We learn to do by doing! As noted though if corn is too crowded it is likely to tassel but not put on ears. If too sparse it will put on ears but the kernels may not get pollinated. Have fun, and do let us know how it turns out?
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applestar
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I pre-germinate, then sow corn in deep container like this to get them started.
Image

I let them grow to about 2-3 inches with next leaf sheath starting (no later than first two leaves, then the roots get too long), then plant them out in my small beds and patches -- about 7 inches apart, in a staggered double row, separated by 24-30 inch walking space based on recommendation jal_ut has posted over the years. Transplanting allows me to plant same size seedlings together to ensure same stage of growth and maturity, at exact spacing with no empty gaps.

My biggest bed is in a spiral form, and corn planted in this bed pollinated each other very well, which was fortunate because I grew 12-15 ft Bloody Butcher in that bed -- too tall to hand pollinate.

Last year, I planted a triple row of Glass Gem in a 4 ft wide x 6? or 8? ft long bed and they pollinated each other very well -- I started out hand pollinating, and did hand pollinate the edges, but Glass Gem shed massive clouds of pollen and it didn't seem necessary.

This year, I'm sowing a triple row of Mirai350BC in a 4x4 bed

Subject: 2016 -- starting seeds and cuttings for the new season
applestar wrote:...and here we are -- the first batch of Mirai 350Bc sweet corn seedlings are ready to plant out Image
(I just need to harden them off -- or actually today is a good day to plant since it's overcast... But I hear Mirai can be a wimp in the cold, so I guess I'll just keep this with the tomato seedlings.

Image
Soaked and pre sprouted another batch of Mirai350BC which were ready to sow today, and started soaking the Kandy Korn x Glass Gem F1 :wink:
I'll be growing other varieties in similar spacing, and most likely will still hand pollinate when convenient.
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Toxic1979
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I picked the "Welcome" due to the short growing days... ~70. I figure it will be about 2 weeks longer here in north eastern Canada.

I seeded them in smaller pots right now, assuming that they would not grow sooooo fast. Its been 10 days, and already they are about 2 inches in height and are working on the second set of leaves. I wish my grass would grow this quick! lol

I assume its safe to say that the root system gets fairly deep with corn as well?

I'll try transplants, and direct seeds as well. Worst case scenario, I have to go buy corn at the grocery store... and I end up being a little more enlightened! Definitely share my results.

I'll use the spacing advice provided! Appreciate the input from everyone.

Applestar... are those milk containers? lol... Im using large recycled yogurt tubs.

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applestar
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

Toxic1979 wrote: Applestar... are those milk containers? lol... Im using large recycled yogurt tubs.
Yep! I garden with a lot of re-cycled/re-purposed containers. :mrgreen:
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feldon30
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I should add that in a raised bed, I hit the corn hard with fertilizer. Maybe 1/2 tsp of 46-0-0 per plant when it's 6-8 inches and again at 48 inches.
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Toxic1979
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

Noted! I was wondering when was the best time to hit them with Nitrogen Fertilizer. I keep reading they are very Nitrogen hungry.

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feldon30
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

Unlike fruiting plants, corn is basically a type of grass. Not enough nitrogen leads to small ears and short plants.
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Taiji
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Re: Corn Density in raised beds

I haven't ever started corn in containers before, but that's a good idea, thank you! I think I will do a few just to fill in the gaps if some don't germinate outside. That will probably be better than replanting. Good to know about the nitrogen feeding too.

My corn density is about 24 plants in a 6 X 8 block and has worked well the last few years. I usually get 2 fully formed ears per plant. Planted mine yesterday!

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