CORN (Zea Mays)
Requires six hours or more
of strong, direct sun per day.
A uniquely American contribution to world agriculture, corn (originally maize) is divided into several groups depending on the ultimate use of the grain.|
Field corn is planted for livestock feeding. Sweet corn is used for human food when fresh, and can be frozen. Popcorn makes a nutritious natural snack and a fine baking flour. Some varieties of corn, commonly known as Indian corn, are also grown as ornamentals. When these cobs are no longer wanted as decorations, the ears can be fed to cattle or chickens.
Beneficial companion plants
There are several companion plants that are beneficial to corn for both growth and insect control. Potatoes, peas, beans, cucumbers, pumpkin and squash are excellent partners for the corn patch.
Whether you're planting a few rows of corn in your garden, or an acre of corn to feed your animals and your family during the winter, you must remember this. Corn is a heavy feeder and will deplete your soil if planted in the same place year after year. Proper soil preparation is a must for an abundant corn crop. For information on other vegetable companion plants see the companion planting chart.
Crop rotation and composting for premium Corn production
Even in the home garden, it makes sense to plan a crop rotation with corn always following beans or preferably clover. A rotation for a small plot of land to feed livestock might allow clover to grow as long as possible before planting corn. Just before turning this green manure crop under, spread manure or compost on the plot. Twenty tons of manure per acre is good if you have it, but any amount will help.
In summer, before you are ready to harvest your corn crop, sow rye grass as a cover crop to plow under the next spring. Then plant soybeans or other garden beans; after harvest, plant winter wheat; till it under and plant alfalfa in the spring. Allow the alfalfa to grow to hay the next year, and then begin the rotation again with corn.
Rotating corn crops
Another rotation more adapted to the home garden would be to plant alfalfa for green manure, followed by sweet corn, the next year by tomatoes, then beans and peas, then spring vegetables seeded to wheat in the fall, then back to alfalfa and corn again.
When you follow one of the above rotations or plan one of your own using vegetables you are accustomed to growing, remember that corn also needs lime. Apply lime at the rate of 1,000 pounds per acre the year before you plant corn. Also spread phosphate rock at the rate of two tons per acre every four years. If your soil tests low in potash, use potash rock, greensand or an good fertilizer high in potash. Follow this soil amendment chart if you have any doubts about your soil composition.
For more see:
The complete guide to planning, planting, cultivation and maintenance of a classic victory garden. Grow the things you eat in your own backyard.