Features of corn
Corn is native to North America. It is believed that it was first domesticated in central Mexico, and from there it spread among different peoples.
There are many varieties to grow, but sweet varieties are preferred over hard, serrated, and waxy varieties. Varieties of sweet corn (maize is one of its names) include yellow, white, and two-tone varieties.
This tall plant, reaching two meters in height, belongs to the grass family (Poaceae). Depending on the growing season, early-ripening varieties are distinguished, which are harvested after 60-70 days. Late-ripening pot will require more than 3 months.
The corn plant is a warm season crop that is very sensitive to frost. Most gardeners plant it two weeks after the last frost.
By planting early, medium and late varieties, you can extend the harvest by several weeks. In an area with a shorter growing season, choose an early variety that will mature long before the first autumn frosts.
Choosing a place to grow
Today, corn is grown on an industrial scale, but there are many varieties that are well suited for growing in home gardens.
How to prepare the soil for planting corn? Growing requires deep and fertile soil that is rich in nutrients and has good drainage. Before planting, the site is dug deep, and a sufficient amount of compost, well-rotted manure and organic fertilizers are applied to enrich the soil with nutrients.
Important! Corn plants are demanding on soil. It should be well-drained but kept moist as corn tends to absorb a lot of water.
The plant needs a lot of nitrogen for optimal growth. Ideally, apply seasoned manure or compost to the soil in the fall and let them overwinter. By spring, the land will be fertile and ready for corn.
Planting corn in the garden in spring. She needs sunny places to get a good harvest.
Because it is wind pollinated, it should be planted in blocks of at least four rows rather than long single rows. Plant corn on the north side of the garden so that it does not obscure nearby crops.
When is corn planted? A good time for sowing is April for the southern regions and May for the northern ones. It is best to wait until the danger of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Soil temperature is the key to successful germination. For corn, it must be at least 16°C. If the weather remains cool, you can spread black polyethylene at the landing site to warm the ground faster.
Growing corn indoors is not recommended. It is propagated by seeds in the garden, as the seedlings do not take root. Before sowing, the seeds are laid out on a damp cloth so that they are moistened and germinate faster, and stored in a plastic bag for 24 hours.
More info!When growing it indoors, use biodegradable pots to avoid damaging the roots when transplanted into the garden.
The grain is planted in the soil, to a depth of 4-5 cm, 2-3 seeds in each hole. Planting distance 20-40 cm between plants and 50-100 cm between rows. Water well after planting.
When young plants reach a few centimeters in height, thin them out so that the distance between them in each row is 20 cm.
Pay attention! Be careful not to damage the corn roots when weeding around the plants.
How often should corn be watered?
The plant needs regular watering and enough water to have good growth and rich fruiting. The crop is well watered as it has shallow roots and can suffer from drought if the weather is hot and the soil is sandy. From the period of flowering to the growth of fruits, the need for watering increases significantly.
The amount and frequency of watering depends on the type of soil and climatic conditions prevailing in the area. Sandy soils need more frequent watering. Heavy clay soils hold more water. Mulch helps reduce evaporation around plants.
Avoid spraying from above. This can wash the pollen off the flowering tops.
In order to form grains, the wind transfers pollen from panicles (male inflorescences) to female inflorescences in the form of filamentous fibers located around the cob. Unpollinated corn stigmas do not develop grains.
You can improve pollination yourself by transferring pollen from tassels to silk threads. Collect pollen from several plants in a small paper bag and sprinkle on the stigma of each ear. For best results, repeat once or twice in the following days.
To increase yield and form larger fruits, remove male inflorescences after pollination of female flowers.
How often is corn fertilized?
A cultivated plant has significant nutrient requirements. In addition to the basic fertilizer that is applied to the soil at planting, a full organic fertilizer is added every three weeks. Spraying the foliage with a zinc-rich fertilizer promotes flowering and good fruiting.
Feed the plants with a high nitrogen fertilizer when they reach 15-20 cm.
Secondary shoots that may develop during the season at the bottom of the stem do not adversely affect the main shoot. Cutting them off can damage the roots.
Corn cannot compete with weeds. Carefully, so as not to damage the roots, destroy the weeds around the stems during the first month of growth. Then apply a layer of mulch to prevent weed growth.
So that the stems stand upright during strong winds, they pour soil around the base of plants 30 cm high.
How to deal with insects and diseases of corn?
Corn is affected by various diseases and insects. For the treatment of fungal diseases that affect foliage and fruits, sprayed with a solution of copper.
Corn smut exudes powdery black spores. Cobs are cut off and disposed of before they open. If necessary, destroy affected plants to prevent the spread of smut.
Cornworms are one of the most notorious pests of corn. To combat various insects that infect corn, plants are preventively sprayed every two weeks with a solution of natural fatty acids in a liter of water, 1 ml of water. You can make a homemade recipe with garlic and onions.
When is the corn ripe and ready for harvest?
The warmer the air, the faster the corn ripens. Depending on the variety, the time of harvesting corn is different. At harvest, the cobs should be with brown tassels and milky kernels. The usual is harvested 2.5-3.5 months after planting.
During ripening, the cob becomes hard and filled with seeds, and the leaves surrounding it are easily removed. If you press the grains with your finger, and a milk-like liquid comes out of them, then the corn is ready for harvest.
Sugar varieties begin to lose their sweetness shortly after harvest, so use them as soon as possible. Young corn harvested a few days after the milk stage will not be as sweet. Immediately after harvesting, the cobs are eaten or canned. Sweet corn freezes well.
The secret of growing corn
When corn is planted and grown along with beans, squash, potatoes, cucumbers, melons and parsley, it gives a good harvest, and at the same time saves a lot of space. When corn and beans are grown together, climbing bean varieties do not need support.