Sooo, now you probably want to know how to use all this stuff to grow the world's best corn.
- First, pick a spot to grow your corn that gets lots of direct sunlight and If you're planting it within a larger garden then, plant it on the north side of the garden. This will do a few things.
- First, it will protect the rest of the garden from the cooler north winds.
- Second, corn is pollinated by the wind blowing the pollen around. Planting it in a place where it can catch the wind help the the corn pollinate.
- Third, the wind can help keep the bugs off of it.
- Second, loosen up the top 6 to ten inches of soil, and remove rocks a debris that will interfere with plant growth. If you've planted in this spot before and the soil has remained fairly loose and you've been cover cropping on a regular basis, you can plant corn as a no till crop. Much research is being done in this area and some report great success. Clay soils and new plots will likely require tillage of some kind. Use hand tools or a tiller. Your choice. I use this: Never till wet soil. You can ruin the crumb structure and cause yourself some drainage problems. Till when the soil no longer sticks to the blade of the shovel when you pull up a clump.
- You can fertilize and plant a few ways using the products in your kit. For the small kit, you can do the planting and fertilizing by hand, so long as your back holds out. Broadcast the fertilizer in the area you intend to plant the corn, as evenly as possible and rake it in. Then plant your seed.
- The standard recommendation to plant the seeds is, to plant them about 1 inch deep, 3 to 4 inches apart. Plant in multiple rows instead of one long row. Corn pollinates by wind action so, it needs to be bunched together.
- Make your rows anywhere from 1.5 feet to 2.5 feet apart. Plant closer together in areas where there's not much wind action to assist in pollination. Some research is being done on plots planted as close as 16 inches apart. You have room to experiment.
- You can plant by poking holes with a broom stick and dropping the seed in the holes and smoothing it over with your hand. You can open up a furrow with a hoe or spade and plant the seeds into the furrow and cover them with soil afterwards.
- You can apply the same methods to the big kit if you want to. It just takes a bit of time. You can plant by hand or use something like an "Earth-Way" seeder (on the left) to save time on the seed planting part of the day. The only thing I don't like about this type of seeder is, it doesn't do a good job of picking up the last lot of seed in the hopper. It works best when it's full.
- If you want to do this the lazy way (my way), get yourself a broadcast spreader, of fair quality, and close the hole up in the bottom and then, pour the ten pounds of seabird pellets into the hopper along with the corn seed and then, push it along through the plot with the hole open to full. Go only as fast as you need to, to get the mixture blown out to the edge of the area you want to plant. The speed you travel determines the distance the seeds travel away from the spreader.
- After you've emptied the hopper, start up the tiller and till all the seeds and fertilizer under. A reverse tine tiller works good for this but, the regular type will do a fair job of it. After you do the tilling, go around and poke any seeds you see on the surface under with a broom handle or "hoe end" and kick some dirt over the holes you make.
- After I do this, I spray the area with the Neptune's Harvest Fish fertilizer. It's nice to do this work a day before you expect rain, if you can arrange it that way. Water helps activate the fertilizer and gets it down into the soil where the seeds can use it.
- This lazy man's method of planting corn doesn't make even rows of corn. It will come up in a very haphazard way and, you may want to transplant some of the corn to get better spacing later on, once the plants are about 2 to 3 inches tall. When you do this transplanting, keep some Neptune's Harvest Fish fertilizer ready mixed with you, and water each transplant, as you go. Soak them good and they will not only survive but do extremely well. I use a little 1.5 gallon ahnd pump sprayer to minimize run off and get the most out of every gallon of fertilizer. You paid for all of it so, makes sense to use all of it, right? The concentrated spray nozzel directs the liquid right where you want it, much better than a watering can.
- Water the roots, directly as described above, every two to three weeks during the growing season. If you're growing a large plot, the plants can get tough to get at. When and if this happens, you can foliar feed(spray) the corn with your sprayer, applying the Neptune's Fish fertilizer directly onto the foliage.
- You can broadcast clover, field peas or vetch as a cover crop, directly into the corn plot as a way to naturally infuse nitrogen into the soil and suppress the growth of weeds during the growing season. These crops can be tilled under in the fall, or left to reseed and come up again ther following year if you' using the "no till" method.
- If you buy my kits and follow my instructions and "Ja" has smiled upon you with good weather, then before you know it, your corn will look like mine in the picture above and soon it will be so thick that you won't be able to walk the rows until picking time!