My Gardening Adventure – Corn

As my micro farm is coming to an end I thought it would be best to review each crop and focus on my experience. To recap I have planted corn, watermelon, pumpkins, tomatoes, and cucumbers. This first to be completely harvested was corn so I will focus on it in this post.

I planted some “Golden Bantam Sweet Corn” back in mid June. I harvested that corn in early september. Here is what I have taken away from the experience.

Yield:  I harvested 32 ears of corn. This number exceeded corn2the high range of my estimates and allowed me to share much of my corns with several friends and family members. Compared to traditional genetically modified corn, my “Golden Bantan” cobs were similar in length, but thinner. I did a little searched and found that corn thickness is measured by rows of corn. I may look for a high row count next time I plant.

Taste: Delicious! I realize that I am biased, but pulling corn from the stalked and cooking it minutes later was a real treat. For about a week I had corn as part of my lunch.

Problems: Honestly, none. I was always worried about bugs or blight, but nothing ever happened. The corn grew fast and steady. When it got to 6 get I added a small dance around the edges in case a storm came. The tips of many of my cobs failed to produce kernels, but this may have been caused by me. I read online about the need to hand pollinate corn to improve yield. I tried their techniques and it may have caused the pollination to fail at the end. When I asked an expert about this she told me that hand pollination was unnecessary, that the corn does a fine job on its own.

Secret for my success: This is my first year so I am far from a pro, but I think I did a few things right. First off was the soil, my raised beds allowed me to control the soil and create a great environment for the corn to grow. I used organic soil, compost, and dry manure. I also added earthworms and organic fertilizer. With that storm foundation I was able to grow storm tall plants. I checked on them every morning and watered them regularly, first with a hose and then switching to soaker hose to keep the water off of the leaves.

Conclusions:  I give this crop and A- and will certainly be planting it next year. The only changes I will make will be to move it over one bed so that it doesn’t shade any of my other crops. I will also plant the rows at different time so the row closest to the sun doesn’t shade out the further row. I may select a thicker cob variety and will add beans to the bed. Corn pulls nitrogen from the soil and beans add it so they work in harmony. I can’t wait till spring.

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