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Old April 29, 2018   #1
GoDawgs
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Default Corn, playing with double rows

This year I'm experimenting with planting corn in double rows, something I read about over the winter. Each set of two rows is 10" apart with 32" between double rows. The aim is to maximize the overall yield in that particular space. There are ten rows where I'd normally plant five or six rows 36" apart. Rows are 18' long.



In the raised bed on the left are eight hills of 'Buhl' (81 days), a sweet yellow heirloom with eight plants in each 18" diameter circle. It's something I played with last year just for fun to see if it would work and it did so I'm trying it again.

In front of the Buhl are two double rows of 'Spring Treat' (67 days), an early sweet yellow that was planted at the same time as the Buhl.

In the foreground are three double rows of Silver Queen (85 days), planted two days ago, four weeks after the Buhl.

Hopefully they'll all come off at different times with maybe some overlap. We'll see. That's what playing is for.
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Old April 29, 2018   #2
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How far apart are the seeds within each row?

My experience with corn, is that each plant will give two ears if provided with 2.5 square feet of growing area. My experience is that crowding doesn't lead to higher yields. Just the opposite, giving the plants more space results in higher yields of larger cobs.

I'd love a grow report in the fall.
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Old April 29, 2018   #3
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Originally Posted by joseph View Post
How far apart are the seeds within each row?

My experience with corn, is that each plant will give two ears if provided with 2.5 square feet of growing area. My experience is that crowding doesn't lead to higher yields. Just the opposite, giving the plants more space results in higher yields of larger cobs.

I'd love a grow report in the fall.
Thank you for that good information!

How far apart do you sow yours in row and how much space between rows? And are you doing a garden planting or out in a field? 2.5 sq ft is about 1.5' x 1.5'

In the rows I plant 4-5" apart and then thin to an 8-10" spacing. I normally get one ear per plant and sometimes a smaller second ear.

In the bed the circles are 18" in diameter with eight seeds planted equidistant around the perimeter, about 7" apart. The circles are spaced 27" apart on center so that the outermost seed of one circle is 8" from the outermost seed of the next circle.

You won't have to wait for fall for a report. The Silver Queen was planted at my usual time and I'm always picking it by Fourth of July.
I'm a data junkie so I have last year's stats. I grew five 18' rows of Silver Queen and pulled 140 ears, which includes the small second ears. Average was 1.5 ears per row foot. BUT...that includes those second ears that might be just 6" long or second ears where there was only 3-4" of full kernels due to improper pollination.

Depending on how this year's experiment works out I might like to try your spacing next year as another experiment.

Editing to add a super interesting link about the stages of corn development:
https://www.ag.ndsu.edu/pubs/plantsci/crops/a1173.pdf

Last edited by GoDawgs; April 29, 2018 at 11:24 PM.
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Old April 30, 2018   #4
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if you hit the fertilizer just right (at the 3 leaf stage)... you often will get a second nice ear not a small worthless one. we grew a patch of Silver King last year that had double ears on every plant. it was unbelievable to pick it. we had so much we gave it away so it didn't go to waste.
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Old April 30, 2018   #5
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Speaking of corn, the corn in the fields around here which there are a bunch (thousands of acres) is almost 1 foot tall now.
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Old April 30, 2018   #6
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if you hit the fertilizer just right (at the 3 leaf stage)... you often will get a second nice ear not a small worthless one. we grew a patch of Silver King last year that had double ears on every plant. it was unbelievable to pick it. we had so much we gave it away so it didn't go to waste.
I laid some 10-10-10 about 2-3" below the planted seed like I always do. They're about at the three leaf stage now. Last year's notes tell me that at the 4-5 leaf stage I sidedressed with 2 oz ammonium sulfate and a drizzle of 5-10-15 per 18' row. Do you think I should I do that side dressing now?
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Old April 30, 2018   #7
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yep, if it is at the 3 leaf stage. nitrogen literally evaporates as soon as it gets wet. the plant needs it again already.
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Old May 20, 2018   #8
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Default A double-row corn update

Corn status: The two double rows of early Spring Treat is starting to tassel already!



But it's at the 51 day mark from planting and the seed packet says it's a 67 day corn. It's only about 4' tall but I think the mature height is something like 5'.

The three double rows of Silver Queen came up evenly, are pretty uniform and have had the next fertilizing.



The experimental "Buhl in the bed" corn is coming along but is so uneven in growth.



That's my fault for planting it when I did the cool soil-tolerant Spring Treat. The nice warm weather turned chilly for a week about three days after I planted them both so I had to wait for the weather to turn again to replant a lot of skips. I'm hoping the shorties can catch up so that everybody pollinates at once but I might have to do some hand pollination if not. Lesson learned.

This morning I found some kind of black caterpillar down in the whorls of several Silver Queen stalks, munching on the foliage. They had lines down the sides like the Southern Army worm that feasted on the eggplant late last summer. I sprayed all the Silver Queen with bT. That should get 'em. No sign of damage on the other corns.
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Old May 21, 2018   #9
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Needs more fertilizer.

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Old May 21, 2018   #10
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Thanks, Worth. They got their last dose on 5/4. tassels mean time for that last dose.
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Old May 21, 2018   #11
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GoDawgs: That looks like great spacing to me. Good job on a crop well grown.

At my place, I figure that it's about 25 days from silking to the very-young sweet corn stage. I prefer corn more mature, so for my liking about 32 days.
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Old May 22, 2018   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joseph View Post
GoDawgs: At my place, I figure that it's about 25 days from silking to the very-young sweet corn stage. I prefer corn more mature, so for my liking about 32 days.
Spied the first silk peeking out today! I have to develop an anti-coon strategy for when that time comes. This is the first time is several years I've messed with an early corn due to coons. I'm guessing that because my early corn finishes before the silage corn that farmers grow near me, that first whiff of ready (or almost ready) corn draws coons here. last time I got almost nothing.

I'm thinking about setting up the game cam on that patch when the time comes. After the first sign of damage I might set up a down wind blind and let Mr. Mossberg take care of the problem.
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Old May 23, 2018   #13
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well... not to discourage you...... but they will clean it out the night before it is ready to be picked has been our experience. they leave it alone until then. we keep an electric fence around each almost ready patch. two strands high.. not just one. some of them are so big they walk right over a low strand. not only do 'coons like it... so do skunks.
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Old May 24, 2018   #14
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The ones around here usually get a little taste one night and then bring their buddies back the next night! Last time they got into the corn it was before it was close to being ready, young half-filled ears scattered on the ground.
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Old July 4, 2018   #15
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Default Corn Experiment Update

This year I experimented with double row planting to maximize yield within an alloted space. Pairs of rows were planted 10" apart with 32" between pairs. Silver Queen to the front, Spring Treat (60 day) behind it.




The first problem I encountered was the inability to pull enough soil to the stalks as much as I usually do. I could only pull some soil (not as much as I wanted to) to the outside of each double row. That might have contributed to the blow down problem and, I believe, the pollination problem resulting in unfilled rows of kernels.

Second, when the corn blew down, the rows in the middle didn't fully right themselves. They're still leaning more than the outside pairs. I think there was just too much mass around them for them to get enough of the sunlight needed to pull themselves up.

Third, it was hard to get through the patch to fertilize the rows and an even bigger mess going through to pull ears.

However, my fears about pollination problems seem to be confirmed. The Silver Queen corn blew down twice in storms and it was right during pollination too. No sooner had it righted itself after the first one, here comes another blow down. This is what the six rows finally look like:



The ears on the right are representative of what usually grows. The ones on the left are showing the same problem the earlier Spring Treat had. I've never had this problem before:



In addition, there are a lot of shorter ears and one or two ears so far with a few yellow kernels showing a hint of cross pollination with the 'Buhl'. Both being 80 day corns, the Silver Queen was planted three weeks after the Buhl to avoid cross pollination. However the Buhl was late getting going (lots of replanted skips) and so a few grains of pollen evidently went visiting.
My conclusion is that while I scratched the itch to experiment with something new and it was interesting to play with, next year I'll go back to single rows of one variety and 36" spacing even though I'll get only six rows in the space where ten rows and two varieties were grown. Bigger and better ears will make up in quantity and quality for more but smaller and less usable ears.

The jury is still out on growing corn in circles within a bed next year. I've proven to myself that it works. Perhaps I'll do the 60 day Spring Treat in a bed, not a big 80 day corn like Buhl. The Spring Treat has smaller plants more suited to a bed and, being an se corn, they were so sweet, so good and so early that they really were a spring treat while waiting for the Silver Queen.

Tomorrow is the Fourth of July and right on cue the first Silver Queen corn is ready. Yesterday I picked the first 28 ears. It almost seems that no matter when I plant it, it's always ready the week of the 4th. I almost wonder if it's readiness is tied to day length instead of days from seeding. Hmmm....
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