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vegetable growing techniques
Corn
raised bed corn growing method
The trouble with standard planting distances for corn is that they generally do not fit the dimensions of a typical raised bed, (around one metre wide).  Below is a step by step explanation of how to raise good sized corn within the confines of a raised bed.


Preparing the bed
Add a shovel full of cow or sheep manure per square metre of bed and one or two handfuls of blood and bone.  Some compost and rock dust can also be added.  Mix in with a hoe and rake the bed level.
Illustration of planting corn in a raised bed.
Illustration showing corn planting spacing for a raised bed.  Each arrowed line represents a distance of about 35 cm (14 inches).
 Corn is frost sensitive so it should only be planted after the threat of the last Spring frost has passed.

spacing
Plant in a three, two, three triangulated pattern so that the space between each plant is about 35 centimetres in any given direction.

planting seeds
Plant three seeds in a tight grouping in each place you intend to grow a corn plant then thin out to the strongest seedling.  Leave any removed seedlings right next to the remaining ones as they will act as decoy food for slugs and snails.

If all the seeds fail in a single group then carefully transplant a  spare  seedling from a neighbouring group.  Do not replant failed groups with more seeds. This is because all the corn needs to mature at the same time if they are to be properly pollinated.

Photo of corn seedlings grown in a single cell seedling tray.
Corn seedlings grown in single cell seedling trays.

Photo of mid sized corn plants
Mid sized corn plants in the three, two, three planting pattern.  The corn was planted into bare soil but after they reached a height of around 25 cm (9 inches) a heavy layer of mulch was added.
I sometimes create a slight depression with the palm of my hand where I intend to plant the seeds. These depressions naturally funnel the water to the seeds and allow you to easily identify where the seeds have been planted.  When starting out I only water the depressions.  Note that I use these depressions because I live in a fairly dry area.  If you are in a high rainfall area that is likely to result in waterlogged soil than do not dig depressions but plant your seed into flat ground.
 
planting Seedlings
Corn seedlings do not like having their roots disturbed.  The seedlings will transplant more easily if they are grown in single cell seedling trays.  Water the seedlings with liquid fertiliser when just transplanted. 

Whether I am growing corn using seeds or seedlings I always plant into bare soil then apply a heavy layer of mulch around when the corn reaches about 25 cm (9 inches) high.


Protecting the Seedlings
If birds are likely to dig up your corn seeds or seedlings then protect them with wooden or polypipe mini stakes.  For details see the Mini Stakes section of Deter - Birds webpage.  Protect against slugs and snails if they are a problem in your garden.  See the Pest Control section for more information on protecting vegetables from slugs and snails.

watering and harvesting corn
Corn is a fairly thirsty plant.  Apply  a thick layer of mulch to the bed once the plants reach about 25 cm (9 inches) high and give them a good watering about three times a week in dry weather.

For details on harvesting corn see the Harvesting and Processing Corn webpage.



Modified 18th November 2016