Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

The Great Corn Experiment of 2012 a/k/a Carla Tries to Grow Corn Again March 6, 2012

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 6:26 pm
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I have had little to no success at growing corn.  The first try, for which I ripped out landscaping and build an 3’x8’x12″ raised bed under my bedroom window, (so I could watch it swaying in the breeze from bed,) yielded several 4 inch ears, clearly, not to their full potential.  Nonetheless, I was overjoyed with the result which tasted delicious.

The next try, I planted corn as part of a Three Sisters Garden, became invested with ants, and was a total failure.

In an effort to remain the butt of my friend Christian’s tiny corn jokes, I’m trying again.  This time, with a dedicated bed, placed in the most full sun I have, and trying several varieties.  I’m also planting really early, taking a risk but hoping to ward off bugs which come in the heat.

I don’t use our business inventory during this time of year, and am out of damaged product, so I’m using wood.  First off, I purchased two 2″x10’x8″ planks of untreated lumber, from Lowe’s and had them cut two feet off of each.  I also bought some long screws.  Total sale was $15.76.  Then I, very unhandily, built the beds, stripping screws and leaving them not very secure.  Hopefully I can persuade someone to add some reinforcements later, but I was in a hurry ahead of the “rain event” on the way.  The end result was a 2×8 bed.  I had leftover soil in the trailer from recent garden installations, and used that to fill the bed.

In the Northern end, I planted 12 seeds of Sweet Early Casino corn.  In the middle, 9 seeds of Peaches & Cream and on the Southern end 9 seeds of Kandy Corn.  So, if all goes well, I’ll have 30 stalks of corn, that (fingers crossed) will yield full sized ears of corn.

I’ll keep you posted.


11 Responses to “The Great Corn Experiment of 2012 a/k/a Carla Tries to Grow Corn Again”

  1. jenj Says:

    I’m in Austin too and haven’t had much luck with corn either, but seeing your post, I think I’ll drop some seeds in the ground and see what happens. It’s not like they’re gonna do me any good sitting in my seed stash!

    • Jen, I believe my problem is twofold, planting too late and not enough sun. I have little garden space that receives true full sun, and the space that does is full of onions. Let me know how it goes for you!

  2. Marc O. Says:

    I had a pretty underwhelming experience with corn last year, too. One ear, partially-pollinated. It was good, but not worth the effort. Good luck with yours!

  3. Cosmo Says:

    Good luck on your corn! I would imagine they are already up and growing quite a bit by now. In the future though, since seeds are relatively cheap, plant three times as many seeds. Then, after they are a few inches tall, you can thin out to the proper amount. This way you get to pick the best looking seedlings to keep in the ground, better insuring a more fruitful crop.

  4. Carla Oldenkamp Says:

    Dale and I joked about our corn crop, being he is a Iowa farmboy that grew corn and soy. I told him we should take pics and send to his family so that they could get a big kick outmof our “harvest”. I believe it was 8 stalks that produced six punky ears,

    Goid luck with your corn this year! I opted out of the corn market thusnyear. Ha! Carla 🙂

  5. Thanks Carla. The bed I built for corn doesn’t get enough sun, so I’m already not too hopeful. Need to remove a Catalpa tree before next batch.

  6. Tristan Says:

    Should have done a little research… For a decent crop you need at least a 10ftx10ft dedicated bed for good cross polination. You’ve got less than 1/4 of that total and closer to 1/12 since you planted 3 different kinds of corn. In the future, just spend your money on a truckload of good vegetable soil, not lumber for a box. Corn plants would much rather have $50 of good soil than $50 of lumber. Be prepared to hand polinate your female plants if you want to have any success with this 3rd attempt. Good luck.

    • Thanks for your comment Tristan. I have done lots of research on growing corn, however 99% of my 250 sq feet of garden space is dedicated to crops that I know will do well and feed me season to season. I do use good soil, as we use Natural Gardener Hill Country Garden soil for our business; I always have a trailer full of it parked in my yard. I also amend my garden soil with my own compost each season. I believe I spent $12 on lumber for this experiment, which is an experiment on growing corn in a limited spacial environment, as the others have been. All in good fun. Perhaps in the future I will plow my front yard down and plant a proper corn field.

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