How Far Apart To Plant Corn In A Garden (Find Out Now!)
Nothing quite says summer like biting into an ear of fresh, sweet corn on the cob. This vegetable is perfect for a cookout or popped to make popcorn. Corn is one of the most popular vegetables, and for a good reason. But all too often, casual gardeners do not believe that they have the time, resources, or space to dedicate to this plant.
Corn is a large plant that is very fast growing. Some larger varieties can reach up to 16 feet in height and 3 feet wide, which require ample room for the deep roots to stretch and grow. When planting corn, you should leave between 30 and 42 inches of space between plants to give each plant plenty of minerals, vitamins, and resources from the soil.
Planting corn in long lines or rows can help speed up pollination. Adding a line of corn plants to the back of your garden is an ideal way to still introduce this large vegetable plant into your garden with minimal impact. Corn can also grow extremely well with other herbs and vegetables making this great for even the casual gardener.
Types of Corn
Corn comes in several varieties, and there are many hybrid varieties of corn specially designed for gardeners and farmers. Many gardeners prefer taller corn varieties rather than thicker and bushier corn varieties. These tend to be sweeter and work well for popcorn. The most popular varieties of corn include Silver Queen White Corn, Jubilee, Giant Silo Corn, and Golden Bantam Corn. These corn varieties will grow to reach about eight feet tall.
Other farmers and gardeners prefer to grow corn that can be used for feeding livestock. This type of corn towers over the hybrid varieties and can reach fifteen or sixteen feet high. Before planting any corn, it is important to research the variety you are purchasing entirely. Most seed packets will list a final growth height and space requirements for the particular variety of corn.
How Much Space Does Corn Need?
When planting corn, you will want to leave plenty of space between each seed hole. The plants should be about 30 to 42 inches apart. This spacing means that the seed holes will need about 15 inches on each side of the hole. Part of planting corn successfully depends on reading the needs of each corn variety on the seed packet.
Remember that seed packets will often list the necessary diameter between plants, not necessarily the required linear spacing between individual seeds.
Although corn is a tall and large plant, it does not mean the casual gardeners must forego adding this plant to their small garden. Corn can thrive in small garden settings and often takes up residency in the back of the garden quite nicely. The large plants with their big leaves can help bock the sunlight from reaching the earth, stopping pesky weeds from forming.
Plus, corn can grow alongside other popular herbs and vegetables, making this an ideal and bountiful plant to add to the garden.
Why Does Corn Need So Much Room?
Compared to other vegetables, corn needs a great deal of space. This spacing is because corn is an extremely large and fast-growing plant. Even the smallest corn varieties will still reach heights of five to ten feet, with some larger livestock corn reaching heights of sixteen feet. Some hybrid varieties of corn are smaller, but corn will still be two to four feet wide, even at the smallest end of the spectrum.
Having a plant that grows so fast and large takes plenty of resources. This means that corn not only needs ample sunlight but it needs vitamins and minerals found deep in the earth. Corn is a plant with extremely deep roots, and it needs to have dedicated space around it to grow fast and healthy. Giving corn plants enough room to spread out ensures that the plants will receive enough nutrients to thrive.
How Should Corn Be Planted?
Regardless of the size of your garden, corn should be planted in rows. Because corn is an air pollinator, planting corn in rows makes pollination and growth easier. Without pollination, your plants may become stunted or may not fully form. When planting your rows, you may plant your corn plants individually, 36 inches apart, or plant small groupings of seeds, also 36 inches apart.
Planting your corn in rows is also beneficial to the gardener. Corn is an extremely tall and large plant that can be difficult to harvest and weed. Rows of corn can provide a straight path and provide ample room for a gardener to get near the corn to tend the plants.
Rows also help to give the plant plenty of necessary resources to allow the plant to grow fully and quickly. Planting corn in dedicated rows can help keep a boundary to your garden and help maintain your garden bed’s edge with corn’s deep and extensive root system.
How Many Corn Seeds Per Hole?
Since the average germination rate for sweet corn is approximately 75 percent, it’s recommended that you plant two or three seeds per hole. That way, there’s backups if some of the seeds do not germinate. Then, as the young plants are growing, you can thin the corn to one plant about every six to twelve inches.
How Deep Should I Plant Corn Seeds?
Every variety of corn is slightly different, and the exact depth you should plant your individual variety of corn will vary. In general, though, it is safe to plant your seeds about one inch deep if you are in heavy and dense soil. If your soil type is light and sandy, it is recommended that you plant your seeds about two inches deep. Of course, always consult your seed packet to learn the exact recommended depth for your particular corn variety.
Can I Plant Corn Seeds In Groups?
One tried and true method for planting corn seeds is to plant corn in what is referred to as “hills.” These hills are small mounds of soil that may contain five to seven seeds, planted just a few inches apart from one another. You should still leave about three feet of distance between each grouping or hill. Leaving enough space between the hills will give the plants enough resources to grow and develop.
The thought process behind planting hills is to make the seeds compete for resources. Out of one grouping of seeds, only the most robust seed will be able to germinate. This process means that nature will weed out the weaker and less desirable plants. By planting your corn seeds in hills, you are still only allowing one corn plant to grow, but you ensure that this will be the most vigorous plant possible.
Does Planting Corn Seeds Closer Have Any Benefits?
While gardeners constantly head advice to not plant their vegetables too close together because of overcrowding and limited resources, there are some benefits to planting corn seeds close together. If you are planting corn plants near one another, the corn will have an easier time with pollination.
Corn is a wind-pollinated plant. This designation means that corn relies on the wind to bring the pollen to the corn silk. Even with the minimal wind through the spring and summer, corn that is planted close together will pollinate one another with minimal effort.
Further, planting corn close together will also make weed control much easier. When the close corn plants work to eat up all the available minerals and nutrients from the soil, weeds will have access to limited resources left over. Plus, corn plants close together can block out the sun below the big corn leaves. This limited sunlight can smother weeds and, in turn, actually make your corn plants healthier.
Where Does Corn Thrive?
Corn is a very robust crop that many farmers and gardeners like to include in the garden. Part of this plant’s popularity is because it is incredibly hardy. Corn can thrive in zones 3 to 11. This band gives a wide range of planting options across the country. This zone rating from the Department of Agriculture makes corn a suitable vegetable for several areas. Corn likes warm and moist soil, and it should be planted about two to three weeks after the last frost.
Can you grow corn from an ear of corn?
Corn seeds are essentially just dried up corn kernels. So, yes, you can grow corn from an ear of corn. To grow corn from the cob, simply let the entire ear dry out and then plant the dried kernels accordingly.
Can you grow corn in a small area?
While we’ve certainly learned that corn needs a lot of space to grow, it is possible to grow some in your small backyard garden, a raised bed, or even a container. It all comes down to choosing the right variety of corn, providing fertile soil, and ensuring that the corn pollinates properly.Although when corn is grown in a field it is generally grown in rows that are between 30 and 42 inches apart, it’s actually better to arrange the plants in blocks of short rows instead of long rows. This has to do with the fact that corn is wind pollinated. Simply arrange the corn side by side in at least four rows, with the rows spaced 12 to 24 inches apart.
What plants grow well with corn?
Corn is a dominating vegetable that can very quickly take over a garden due to its large size. However, several plants will grow nicely alongside corn. Various herbs will grow well with corn and will work to help protect your crop.Basil and dill are both great to grow with corn. This planting rationale is because they will help keep nuisance insects away. Basil is especially helpful because it can keep maize weevils away from your corn with its strong smell.If you want to plant other vegetables with your corn, consider planting pole beans. These vegetables will form a symbiotic relationship with your corn. The pole beans will grow by climbing up the stalk of the corn using the corn as a trellis.Other vegetables that work well with corn include pumpkins and squash. These plants will keep the weeds away from your corn and help lock moisture into the soil surrounding your corn.
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