devildocjames
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Dark Corn Stalk...?

So, I have a very small section of soil that I've tilled and mixed in some vegetable growing soil (I think Miracle Grow), planted some grass, corn, and tomatoes. The veggies seem to be doing great, with two exceptions.

1) I'm pretty sure I planted the corn and tomatoes far too close. They're too far along to separate now though. Any tips or thoughts would be great.

2) My corn has been consistently getting dark along the stalks. I thought it was some form of stalk rot, but, I cannot find anything that looks exactly like it. They seem to still be growing fine though. I had to add some soil to all of the bases as I started seeing the roots show on a couple of them.

Here is a quick video of my "massive" garden:


Any help on the issue would be great.

The corn is Burpee Sweet Corn, Early Sunglow Hybrid, Normal Sugary, Extra Early.
The tomatoes are Burpee as well.

My potted plants are the same corn, along with Burpee Garden Beans, and Mexican Sour Gherkins.

I live in Southern California (Temecula).

Thanks for any help!

-James
Last edited by applestar on Sat May 23, 2015 1:46 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Embedded the YouTube video

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applestar
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Re: Dark Corn Stalk...?

Hah -- yeah well, way too close together, but since the corn is already silking, it might just finish up in the next few weeks and let the tomato have the space afterwards.

I wouldn't worry about the color of the stalk. I'm not familiar with this variety but some have darker colored stalk depending on the color of the kernels and/or parentage. Since the tassles are darker colored too, I think it's just the way this one grows.

You know about hand pollinating small patches of corn like this right? You'll need to collect the pollen from the tassles (male part on top of the plant) when you see little anthers dangling from the tassles.

Do this when its not windy, in the morning when the sun is hitting the corn and after dew has dried.

In one hand, hold a white printer paper that has been folded in half and opened again to form a crease/valley in the middle under one plant's tassle (male) lean the stalk over with other hand and shake the tassle over the paper. You'll see a pile of pollen fall on the paper. Collect from all the tassles that are shedding pollen.

Now fold the paper and pour the pollen into the silks (female) -- distribute to all the fresh silks that are growing on different plants, making sure every silk is covered.

You can try again later in the afternoon, sometimes you can get more pollen. But repeat every day -- collect as much pollen as you can and treat the silks until they start to dry up.

There a reason you don't want to grow tomatoes and corn so close together -- "corn earworm" and "tomato fruit worm" are two different names for exactly the same caterpillar of a moth. Being so close together the caterpillar can travel from one plant to the other to enjoy the two-for-one buffet.

Another reason is that corn is a "heavy feeder" -- but you can use a balanced fertilizer with same NPK a numbers here I think.

Once you have harvested the ears of corn by pulling the ears off, I think what I would do in this instance is to cut the leaves off and then use the corn stalks as support for the tomatoes.

...BTW extra little guy growing under the corn looks like bean? But the holes are due to slugs munching on it I think.
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devildocjames
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Re: Dark Corn Stalk...?

Hey thanks for the quick reply! Yeah I think I may have planted a few beans down there too. I read a couple ways to hand pollinate but your method sounds even better. For added nitrogen I've been using Miracle Grow water soluble vegetable food. I do a gallon a week.

The idea to use the stalks for further support is actually awesome.

I did see one caterpillar a week or two ago but got rid of it. Since then I've been using neem oil and so far I haven't seen any more. It seems to have rid the plants of pretty much all pests actually.

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applestar
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Re: Dark Corn Stalk...?

You are welcome :D

If veg fertilizer has high N then I would switch to something with balanced (same) numbers or at this point, even tomato fertilizer with higher P and K numbers if you are seeing lots of lush green growth on the tomato with no blossoms.
Learning never ends because we can share what we've learned. And in sharing our collective experiences, we gain deeper understanding of what we learned.

devildocjames
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Joined: Sun May 17, 2015 5:47 pm

Re: Dark Corn Stalk...?

Another quick reply, very helpful forum indeed.

So the Miracle Gro Tomato Plant Food that I'm using says 18-18-21 on the back. I think I read somewhere that corn is a 10-10-10 for best results. I didn't know too much when looking for plant food supplements. However, thinking about it- shold the "over the top" amount of NPK be good for all the plants. My grass there turn into Hulk when I spread the leftover food on them. I guess that's just a side note. Anyways, I've attached a picture of the food analysis label for it.
http://imgur.com/mxaGsX3

Oh the tomatoes DO indeed have some little flowers showing up. They look like miniature Angel's Trumpets actually, neat. There seems to be about three "groups" of flowers that I've found so far. Around a week ago or so there was only one group that had started.

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