There is some scary stuff being reported all over the television and social media. And with it brings worry, stress, and fear. So come with me and I’ll show you How to Love Through the Fear. And our first step is to GROW CORN for Ourselves and Our Family.
How to Love Through the Fear: GROW CORN
You are probably wondering, how is growing corn loving through the fear? Well, this is how I see it. We can sit in front of the television or with our faces in our phones, reading the news reports and watching all of the terrifying videos, OR we can get off our butts, go outside and GROW something.
How to Find the Love
You may or may not enjoy the outdoors or getting your hands dirty. And you may have never grown anything before in your life. All of those things are fine, not a problem, as we all had to start somewhere. No one was born an expert and even the experts are faced with challenges from time to time. But to Find the Love, the first step is to make up your mind that while many things we cannot control, some things we can. So let’s get dirty and grow some food. And what better place to start than to GROW CORN. It will help your pocket book, your family, your animals (if you have any), and your spirit. Loose yourself in the fresh air, the birds singing, and dream of the beautiful things you would like to come into your life. You’ll be so glad you did.
Grow Corn: Sweet -vs- Field Corn
SWEET CORN, like the beautiful juicy ear of Peaches and Cream shown in the photo above. Our family LOVES IT! It’s super delicious boiled, smeared with butter and a sprinkling of salt and pepper. Or, you can even add a sprinkle of herbs or cayenne pepper for a little kick. But we also love to soak an unhusked ear of corn in water, then drain well and add it to the grill for some charred smokey goodness. Now while both of these methods of cooking corn has my mouth watering, we can’t forget Southern Cream Corn. It takes a bit more to make but freezes beautifully and more importantly, it’ll make your tongue slap ya eyebrows it’s so good. If you’d like to grow some Sweet Corn for yourselves this year, we’ll show you how right here.
Grow Corn: Sweet -vs- Field Corn
FIELD CORN, just like the Sweet Corn, comes in many different varieties. And this year we are growing the Hickory King Dent Corn. Since we love the Peaches and Cream so much, why in the world aren’t we growing it this spring? You see, Field Corn needs more time to grow and dry out. But before that time, we do get to enjoy some of it roasted when that perfect time, the milk stage.
Why Field Corn?
- corn meal
- animal feed
- seed for next years crop
Just imagine, freshly ground corn meal and grits. Have you ever had a well prepared bowl of grits? Then shoot me a message and I’ll walk you through because cooked right they are de-li-cious! And what about homemade tortillas, cornbread, muffins and so much more. Provide for your family and your animals with FIELD CORN.
GROW CORN: Who Knew?
I have never seen nor have I ever even considered starting corn in cell trays until this year. It was my understanding that corn had to be planted directly into the garden in order to GROW CORN. But I saw someone else use this technique on YouTube and it was an ahah moment for me. I thought, “I like that, I need to try that”. Not only did I try it, but we’ll be planting our corn (sweet & field corn) that way from now on.
How to Start
- Add seed starting mix to cell trays, nice and even all over, filled but not packed.
- Use your finger and make an indenture in the soil to your first knuckle or close to it.
- Add one corn seed per cell and add more seed starting mix to cover.
- Take the cell tray outside and set your sprayer on mist. Mist the cell trays well with water.
- Keep cell trays moist. Take outside and mist daily until the corn has sprouted.
- Once the corn has sprouted, add 1 tsp 20-20-20 to a watering can. Mix well and water with the fertilizer mixture.
- When the corn has reached about 6 inches tall, begin hardening off by taking the cell trays outside for a couple of hours in the morning. Each day add a little more time until they have adjusted to the strong sun and wind.
GROW CORN: Row & Plant Spacing
Personally, I feel that spacing is debatable and something that doesn’t have to be exact. For example, it is recommended that peppers are planted 24″ apart. However, peppers love to hold hands which in turn helps them to support each other. The Hickory King Dent Corn package said to plant them with a 12″ to 24″ row spacing. The 24″ row spacing is tight but doable which allows for enough room to move through the rows. I recommend to give yourself at least 24″ between rows and if you have the space, 30 to 36 inches would not be a bad idea. When it’s time to move through the row with a sprayer, you’ll be very glad for the extra space.
GROW CORN: Feeding, Hilling, & Pest Control
Corn is a heavy feeder. Meaning it likes to be fertilized and it likes to be watered. Not soggy feet, but well watered on a regular basis. We really enjoy using Drip Irrigation. Each emitter is 12″ apart and we planted the Hickory King directly on top of each emitter. We also use a Fertilizer Injector which brings both water and fertilizer directly to the roots of our crops. These items are things that we’ve added to our garden over time but that are not at all necessary in order to Grow Corn. But I do highly recommend that you add them to your wish list as they do make gardening more efficient and much easier to manage.
When Growing Corn, fertilization, hilling your corn, and staying on top of those pest is very important. If growing a successful crop of corn is important to you, then please don’t neglect these steps. Below you’ll find our methods which has worked out beautifully for us.
- 1st of every month: 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 (in the fertilizer injector or distributed along one side of the corn row. See Note below for more info.)
- 15th of every month: Calcium Nitrate (applied the same as above)
- After planting, and the corn has grown about 8″ to 12″, pull dirt up on each side of the corn with a hoe but DO NOT cover the corn. You only want to provide it with support for the roots to grow big and strong which will also help to keep the corn upright.
- Once the corn has grown another 8″ to 12″, repeat the process.
- Continue hilling after each growth spurt until it’s too tall to hill. I usually hill three times before it reaches this point.
NOTE: If you are fertilizing by hand, just before you hill is the perfect time to distribute some 20-20-20 or 10-10-10 along one side of the row. Then as you hill, the fertilizer and dirt will mix together as you pull it all up and around the corn stalk.
Keep an eye on your corn! A stroll through the garden to see if any pests have arrived a couple of times a day is beneficial for your garden and good for your soul.
- At the first sign of pests (which is usually worms), spray until it is dripping off of the plant with Monterey BT (works great on tomatoes too). Repeat every 2 weeks or after a good rain.
- Once the silks show up, routinely pay close attention to the silks and spray well. Continue spraying the corn stalk at the same time you spray the silks. Remember, the spray needs to drip from the leaves.
- NOTE: This little tidbit is for anywhere in the garden where those pesky sting bugs show up. They seem to be immune to most everything but here’s one that will take care of them for you: Bug Buster II and Bug Buster 0 (organic).
Those nasty little worms love some corn and I sure would hate for you to pull back a husk and find that one of those little critters had beat you to it.
ALWAYS, spray your garden early in the morning or late in the afternoon to avoid the pollinators. We love our pollinators and after all, where would we be without them.
Why is it Called Dent Corn & When is the Milk Stage
The name Dent Corn comes from the dent that each of the kernels have at maturity. The Dent stage begins about 40 days after silking by beginning at the bottom of the corn and working its way up the to the tip. This takes about 20 days or so which signals a rapid starch accumulation (the kernel milk line as it’s called or milk stage).
Find More Tips & Tricks in the Garden and Around the Homestead
- How to Make a Sourdough Starter
- Plant Peanuts for Maximum Production
- How to Prepare Potatoes for Planting
- Hickory King Dent Corn
- Peaches & Cream Corn
- Calcium Nitrate
- Monterey BT
- Drip Irrigation
- Fertilizer Injector
- Bug Buster II
- Bug Buster 0
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Until next time…happy homesteading!
If you ever have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to ask. I love to hear from you!!