Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Corn: Planting Variations (page 4 of 4)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Corn-in-a-Tub

If you don't have enough land to grow a good stand of corn but you've got a good sunny spot, you can still look forward to a sweet corn harvest. It's easy to grow corn in a washtub, bushel basket or other large container. The tall plants can add a nice touch (and even some privacy) to a patio, deck or lawn.

Most seed companies offer midget corn varieties that are supposed to be best for container growing. However, the kind you'd normally raise in a garden usually works just as well in tubs. Try growing early varieties, such as 'Earlivee' or 'Early Sunglow', because they're hardy and fairly short stalked. Be sure to select a variety that produces more than one ear per plant to make the best use of limited space.

Although it's possible to harvest healthy ears of corn from just four plants grown in a single container, you'll have the best results with about a dozen plants. A larger group of plants ensures complete pollination, so consider grouping several tubs together in your "container garden."

Fill each container with loose, rich soil. Make sure to add enough fertilizer for these heavy feeders. If you're using a large basket, line it with plastic to keep in both soil and moisture. Plant corn seeds about 4 inches apart, covering them with 1 inch of soil.

When the seeds sprout and are about six inches tall, thin the plants so they're about eight inches apart. From then on, stay on the lookout for insects and diseases, and be sure the plants have a steady supply of food and water. Keep in mind that compared with garden-grown corn, container-grown corn has a limited amount of soil around the roots. Give it enough water that it never runs dry. It's almost impossible to overwater container corn, so check it regularly. Give the plants a dose of water-soluble plant fertilizer about once a week, and they should produce beautifully.

When the plants tassel, help pollinate by gently shaking the stalks. You can look forward to a mini-harvest in about three weeks.

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