When it comes to learning how to grow corn, one of the most important things that you should know is that it will require a lot of space. This is for two reasons – it is a heavy feeder and it is mainly pollinated by wind.
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Growing corn in containers is definitely possible. However, this will yield less than when it’s grown in the garden. And since it requires more space, you need to plant it in large pots.
Choosing the Right Containers to Grow Corn
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When growing corn from seed, the key is to choose a container that is large enough to accommodate the plant. It should be at least 12 inches deep and about 10 inches wide. You can grow up to four corn plants in this size of a container. Make sure that the container has enough drainage holes at the bottom. This is to allow for the drainage of any excess water. Your corn could die if you leave it sitting in wet soil.
It is important to remember that corn can grow up to 8 feet tall. So this is another thing to consider when choosing the container and the spot to grow the corn. Your corn can grow very tall and may be out of reach to some.
It would be ideal to grow the corn in your backyard. Not only is corn big enough, they also tend to pack rather tightly. Corn is also pollinated by the wind and they pollinate in each other. The result may not be what you expected. If you want plant more than one variety, stagger the containers so they will not pollinate at the same time.
Choosing the Varieties of Corn To Grow
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When it comes to learning how to grow corn, it is important that you are familiar with the different corn varieties. Since you are growing corn in containers, choose the dwarf variety. This variety of corn plant will not exceed five feet. Some of the best choices are the short stemmed corn, such as the Trinity and Sweet Painted Mountain. You can also choose something that tastes better than what you can purchase from the store and has an interesting color. These are the three main varieties of corn to choose from.
• Standard – this is the old fashioned corn with the tasty corn flavor. It is best eaten within an hour after harvest.
• Sugary – this is an enhanced corn variety that keep its sweet flavor up to three days after harvest.
• Supersweet – this has the sweetest flavor of all. It is sweeter than the sugary variety and is less vigorous than the standard variety.
Also Read: 21 Amazing Uses of Epsom Salt for Gardening
Planting the Corn Seeds
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Growing corn from seed is easy. Make sure to use a garden soil that’s formulated to retain moisture. Corn plants will require soil that can retain moisture and will not dry quickly. But it should drain well enough so the soil will not be soggy. A peat based soil will also work best for the plant. You can add all purpose fertilizer into the mix.
Begin by sowing up to four seeds of corn per container. It should be about one inch or 2.5 cm deep. Space the seeds about four to six inches apart. Rake a bit of soil right above them.
Do not worry if the corn will be planted together closely in the pot. Sowing seeds closely can help in the process of pollination. It also allows for the corn to produce fruit abundantly. If you are planting multiple containers of corn, space the containers about six inches away from each other.
Care of Corn in Containers
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There is nothing complicated in corn plant care. Just remember that the plant will need full sunlight and warm soil. It should be placed in an area that receives a lot of sun each day. You can also plant the corn against a wall to reflect light and retain heat.
Water your plant regularly, ideally in the morning and in the evening. Mulching the plant with grass clippings can also help in water retention. Apply 10 – 10 – 10 fertilizer as soon as the plants grow to two feet tall. Dig a hole around each container, about two centimeters deep. Pour 1/2 tablespoon of the fertilizer for each plant and incorporate it into the soil. With minimal corn plant care, you should be reaping your corn anytime soon.
When to Harvest The Corn
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So you might ask, “how long does it take for corn to grow?” Your corn should be ready for harvest about 20 days right after its first silk appears. But this will also depend on certain factors. Among these are the corn variety and the weather condition.
Knowing the right time to pick the corn is definitely an important factor for a high quality crop. So check your plant and when the silk appears, start counting 20 days from that day.
During harvest time, the silk will turn brown but the husks will still be green. Each of the stalks must have at least one ear on top. If the condition is right, you might get another ear below the stalk. The lower ears are often smaller and matures later than those above the stalk. Before you start harvesting, make sure that the corn is at the “milk stage”. Puncture the kernel and check for any milky liquid inside it. If the liquid is clear, then the corn is not yet ready. If there is no liquid, then you have waited too long already.
How to Pick the Corn
Now that you already know how long does it take for corn to grow, it’s time to learn the proper way of picking the corn. This is to ensure that you will not end up damaging the corn.
It is best to harvest the corn early morning. Grab the ear firmly and then pull it downwards. Then twist it gently and pull. It should come off the stalk easily. Harvest as many as you can in a day on the first few days. However, make sure that you harvest the entire crop only in its milky stage. Pull the corn stalks immediately right after you harvest. Cut the stalks to about one foot in length before you add them to the compost pile in order to hasten the decay.
Also Read: How to Grow Mushrooms Indoors
Storing Freshly Picked Corn
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Some people would say that you must put the newly harvested corn to a boiling water directly after picking. This is because it will lose its fresh flavor so quickly. Although timing is not really critical, corn tastes best right after harvest. As soon as you pick the corn, its sugars will start converting to starches in a wee. Thus, it will taste more like those store bought corn than freshly picked ones.
The best way to store your freshly picked corn is inside a fridge. Keep it there for up to a week. If you need to keep it longer, then better freeze it. You can freeze the corn on the cob or remove them from the cob to save more space in your fridge.
As you see, the steps on how to grow corn is easy. Just make sure you follow the corn plant care tips to ensure success in the growth of your corn.