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Results from my low-labor sweet corn.

 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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To start with, I tried to get a pure stand of dutch clover to prevent weeds. This worked so-so, though as I will keep the area mowed after harvest many of the annual weeds should die. In spite of being tilled twice before seeding there is a fair amount of grass in there, and that will NOT die from being mowed every week.

My plan was to plant large vegetables and to let the clover nourish the plants. This worked fairly well with the sweet corn this year, though we did start out with fertilization as the clover has not had a chance to enrich the soil. At any rate the corn looks strong and healthy, and I expect to harvest it next week.

One problem was that germination was very poor. When the seeds arrived the packages said "86% germination" which I think is pretty darned poor for corn seeds! And, germination in the garden was very poor, so I reseeded when it was a tad warmer, which gave me better germination but it was still poor. I dug up a seed from time to time and most of them had sent down roots but no tops. I contacted the seed company to complain, saying that their competitors sweet corn had been planted earlier but was doing well, and they told me that a cold snap at the wrong time will do that. They also sent me a full refund, so, oh well!

At any rate we have about 120 stalks of corn in my experimental plot, they all look healthy, and most have one generous sized ear of corn forming. A couple of the stalks have a second ear but those do not look like they will properly fill out. Again I expect to pick them next week.

Today I planted more corn, with a slightly different twist. Because there WAS grass in the last plot (and grass grows 5 feet tall here, which would shade the vegetables), I have set out fistful of seeds, 5 feet apart, on a grid pattern. That way I can mow between the clumps of sweet corn. I want 5 corn stalks per clump: when I did a germination test on the corn seeds I only got a 50% germination rate and so I put 10 seeds in each hole and I put one inch of soil over the seeds. If I get more than 5 corn plants in each hole I will thin it.

It will be very interesting to see if the ears fill out as well as the corn that was spaced more evenly. At any rate I can mow between this corn, which should prevent this year's oomplaints that I had not mown my lawn! Beccause, until the corn got tall enough, it did NOT look like I had mown my lawn!
 
Terri Matthews
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Location: Eastern Kansas
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I picked a few ears.

Each ear is perhaps an inch shorter than it is supposed to be, but other than that the corn is FINE! I did forget to put oil on the silks, and as a result I have a lot of damaged tips.
 
jimmy gallop
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Location: east and dfw texas
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corn will actually out compete the grass it is a grass it's self
I have had it kill (weakened by tilling) Bermuda grass by taking all the nutrients from it
I plant mine on a 12 inch grid 10 plants wide and however long also the trick to corn is ammonia nitrate
I use chicken manure It's surprising how much you can use and not burn it
 
Terri Matthews
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I actually HAVE chicken poop: when do you apply it?
 
jimmy gallop
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Between when its started growing and tassel.

 
Terri Matthews
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OK. I will try it on the next batch.
 
Terri Matthews
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WAY COOL!!!

The corn has been picked, and so today I mowed down the corn patch. It was LOADED with pest bugs! I am not sure if I should congratulate myself for attracting the pests from the garden or scold myself for giving them a safe place to to breed! They were mostly blister beetles and grass hoppers, but there were also several squash bugs, one cucumber beetle, and a vole. I did not see any beneficial bugs at all. The bugs were, however, eating the weeds and not the corn.

I mowed it twice to kill as many beetles as I could. It will be interesting to see if the survivors make it to my vegetable garden or simply leave!
 
Jennifer Smith
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My blister beetle and squash bug problems (huge out of hand problem) finally solved with a shop vac and soapy water.
 
Terri Matthews
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They ended up stripping my Fava beans-which were not doing well anyways- and they were in the process of stripping my potatos when I saw what they were up to!

I had some spray on disease spores that were intended for the green worms on the cabbages and so I sprayed that on. It worked like a charm!

 
Troy Rhodes
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Everything old is new again.

Do a google search for check-row corn planting.

Here's a sample to get you started:

http://www.farmcollector.com/implements/check-row-planting-by-the-book.aspx#axzz39qmgTlIn


The idea was to plant clumps of corn to form a checkerboard. That way you could cultivate for weeds between rows in both directions.


This is way before my time, but I know of its existence from my parents.

The planters used a wire, with "buttons" every 42", to very precisely place the rows, so the next set would line up perfectly as well.


This was prior to the widespread use of herbicide, where tillage was generally considered the best way to impede the weed crop.

It probably went out of use in the 50's.

troy
 
Terri Matthews
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WOW!That is it EXACTLY, excepting that I was wanting to mow clover between the clumps instead of cultivating between clumps!!!
 
Jennifer Smith
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I would like to know mote about the disease spores please
 
Terri Matthews
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Jennifer Smith wrote:I would like to know mote about the disease spores please
Well, I USED to use BT, which worked fairly well. This year I did not see it on the shelf, and the staff told me that they were selling "Captain Jack's Dead Bug" instead, as it was a bit more effective and had a longer shelf life. I have to agree about the longer shelf life: the bottle of BT tended to be ineffective by the end of summer.

Both products consist of dormant disease spores that only affect insects. As the insect eats the leaves it is also eating the disease spores, so the bugs get sick and die. I have no idea if it would work on a sucking bug like an aphid, but it worked a treat on the blister beetles!

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