This is the first year in our garden that I'm trying corn. Last year we didn't have the space but since we expanded the garden this year with my newest layout I have an 8'x10' area for corn. I'm planting it in succession. The first part is planting a small square of corn. Squares are efficient for corn because corn is wind pollinated and a block formation makes it easier for the corn to cross pollinate. Each little kernel of corn has to be pollinated individually, which is why sometimes kernels may be missing on the cob. Spotty pollination means spotty corn cobs. I planted my first square with 3 rows and several seeds per row on the western side of the garden so that each section will be lower than the first in height to maximize sunlight. Once the corn starts to germinate I'll plant another section and continue the method of succession until the area is full. If everything works out I'll end up with fresh corn for several weeks.
I've covered the area with grass clippings to serve as a mulch. Once the corn starts to emerge from the soil I'll add some grass clippings around the corn and pull back the grass from the new area to plant. The bamboo stakes are there as a visual reference of where I planted the first grouping of corn.
I also planted the first part of my succession of bush beans. Bush beans tend to expend themselves in bursts which is why I'm doing a succession of plantings. The middle row is where I started our Nash Bush beans. I only went halfway into the row with seed so that I can plant in six sections. The second one will be the opposite side and top row, the third will go to the bottom right, the fourth planting will go to the top left, the fifth to the bottom left and the last one in the middle. I'm planning it this way for easy access for picking the beans.
Once the corn comes up I'll plant some pole bean seeds among them. The beans will climb the corn and help to fix nitrogen in the soil, something that legumes are good at and corn likes!
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Sunday, April 26, 2009
Beans and Corn, Corn and Beans
Dave is the author of Growing The Home Garden and runs a small nursery business growing vegetables and herbs for local customers in Spring Hill, TN. (Blue Shed Gardens or FB page). He has written for gardening publications, Troy-Bilt and Lowe's and is available for edible garden consulting. Dave gardens organically and when he isn't writing, collecting seeds, or propagating plants he's parenting his 4 children as a stay at home dad.