It seems like it takes a lot of inputs for minimal gain. Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed picking it,husking it,and walking inside my front door to the waiting pot, but compared to other plants, it seems needy, and not very productive.
I am looking at growing sorghum this year, as it seems to have more uses, and need less work. It is no substitute for corn, taste wise, but my blood brother runs Carriage House Farm here in Ohio, so corn is just a short ride away , in season.
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
Sweet corn is a treat, but a relatively expensive one.
There is a minimum plot size for corn IMO that is bigger than most people have. And the amount goes up exponentially with the number you are trying to feed. If you are only trying to feed one or two, you can get a few ears ready at the same time easy enough. If you want to feed a big family, you need a LOT of corn just to get your dozen ears ready at the same time.
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I agree that sweet corn for eating off the cob is a huge space and effort hog for the yield produced. You might redeem this somewhat by feeding off the still green stalks to livestock after harvest, and/or intercropping something else under the corn like winter squash (also somewhat of a space hog itself). But the classic Three Sisters system was for dry mature harvest all at once....it will be quite a jungle to thrash into to pick the green corn with the squash and other intercrops in there.
But for those interested in producing more of their own staples/carbohydrates, or perhaps animal feed, corn becomes a very important player. With good fertility and water, it yields more per area than any other grain crop, easily doubling the yield of, say, wheat, rice, or sorghum. Root crops such as potatoes or sweet potatoes can equal or exceed this, but they do not store as long or as compactly, and have somewhat different uses. Growing corn for dry harvest brings back the opportunity for interplanting ala Three Sisters and it's derivatives, which ratchet the per-area food yield even more, and add stability of yield of something useful in case a pest or disease reduces or eradicates any one member.....
Location: Torrey, UT; 6,840'/2085m; 7.5" precip; 125 frost-free days
I ground my first Painted Mountain Corn into flour this winter. Don't want to go back to store-bought, ever. The cornbread tasted like--wait for it--corn!
Same with the house-made posole. Haven't figured out how to grind for polenta yet with the blender-as-grinder, but I could eat polenta every day of the week.
Yes, totally worth it for me.
For the most calories on a small space, I like sweet potatoes, white potatoes, Jerusalem artichokes, cassava and true yams (Dioscorea alata is awesome). But I do grow corn in a field plot.
The best method for me so far on the fertilization front is to take a 55 gallon drum and throw in a few shovelfuls of chicken manure, plus some weeds, fish emulsion, urine, compost or whatever else I have lying around, then add water almost to the top. Every couple of weeks I'd give it a stir, grab a couple of watering cans with the "roses" removed, fill them up, then walk the rows and let it pour out between the plants as a I walk like Aquarius, the manure-water bearer.
I mostly grow in highly enriched raised beds, but my last corn crop died in the same soil that every thing else loved.
I think it was probably a water issue, something I will adress this year.
Thanks for the feedback , got me thinking about natural potassium and phosphorus sources, and really big subirriagated planters.
I love up front work in the garden but I never have time for much maintenance, including watering, so I guess worry free corn will need automated irrigation of some sort.
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