Gardening Articles


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 ears. _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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