Broadcast complete organic fertilizer or strong compost shallowly
over the corn patch till midwinter, or as early in spring as the
earth can be worked without making too many clods. Corn will
germinate in pretty rough soil. High levels of nutrients in the
subsoil are more important than a fine seedbed.
_Sowing date:_ About the time frost danger ends. Being large seed,
corn can be set deep, where soil moisture still exists even after
conditions have warmed up. Germination without irrigation should be
no problem.
_Spacing_: The farther south, the farther apart. Entirely without
irrigation, I've had fine results spacing individual corn plants 3
feet apart in rows 3 feet apart, or 9 square feet per each plant.
Were I around Puget Sound or in B.C. I'd try 2 feet apart in rows 30
inches apart. Gary Nabhan describes Papago gardeners in Arizona
growing individual cornstalks 10 feet apart. Grown on wide spacings,
corn tends to tiller (put up multiple stalks, each making one or two
ears). For most urban and suburban gardeners, space is too valuable
to allocate 9 square feet for producing one or at best three or four
_Irrigation:_ With normal sprinkler irrigation, corn may be spaced 8
inches apart in rows 30 inches apart, still yielding one or two ears
per stalk.
_Varieties: _Were I a devoted sweetcorn eater without enough
irrigation, I'd be buying a few dozen freshly picked ears from the
back of a pickup truck parked on a corner during local harvest
season. Were I a devoted corn grower without any irrigation, I'd be
experimenting with various types of field corn instead of sweet
corn. Were I a self-sufficiency buff trying a ernestly to produce
all my own cereal, I'd accept that the maritime Northwest is a
region where survivalists will eat wheat, rye, millet, and other
small grains.
Many varieties of field corn are nearly as sweet as ordinary sweet
corn, but grain varieties become starchy and tough within hours of
harvest. Eaten promptly, "pig" corn is every bit as tasty as
Jubilee. I've had the best dry-garden results with Northstine Dent
(JSS) and Garland Flint (JSS). Hookers Sweet Indian (TSC) has a weak
root system.

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