sweet corn spacing

greenthumbnick(8b)March 15, 2008

Hi,

Im in East TX. Im about to plant some Sweet G90 corn in a 10ft x 16ft bed. How should I space them?

Thanks,

Nick

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

I use 36" apart rows and 6" spacing on the plants. Your 10' wide bed would let you get in 3 rows if you went with about 30" between rows.

Dave

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 8:41PM
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greenthumbnick(8b)

I wonder if I can get away with 2ft apart?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 8:45PM
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bakersville

you can get away with 12 inches.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2008 at 9:00PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Depends on how skinny you are come picking time. Or you can always hire a small child to squeeze in between rows. ;)

Dave

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 12:08AM
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tomakers(SE MA Zone 5/6 or ?)

I plant corn 12"x12" all the time and get plenty. Just tough to cultivate. It can be planted even closer. Just look at the way the commercial guys do it. It is very close in the rows. The only reason the rows are 3' apart is to be able to use the tractor for cultivating. Plant at least 4 rows side by side.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 12:11AM
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paulc_gardener

Everyone has about covered it all. I plant 29" and have 70 rows 50ft long. My 20" rear tine tiller fits this for cultivating or hilling. Back when I had little space, I planted 12" rows and 4" spacing. It takes a lot of water and high Nitrogen fertilizer.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 6:17AM
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greenthumbnick(8b)

Actually...now that I think about it....If I space the rows 18" apart, I can get 6 rows in. Thats better than the 4 or 5 rows I was expecting. I see that they require a lot of nitrogen. Is a grass fertilizer a good fert? Or what should I use? I think I have some blood meal left in the garage too.

Nick

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 9:49AM
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paulc_gardener

Grass fertilizer if fine. Make sure it does not have weed preventor or weed killer. This will kill your corn. Blood meal is good.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 11:35AM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I'm growing corn in an 11x4 raised bed, and am going to try intensive gardening or whatever. I'm going to use 8 inch rows with 4 inch spacing. I will harvest by sticking my hand into the middle, then going to the other side and reaching in. Should work for me.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sinfonian's gardening adventure

    Bookmark   March 16, 2008 at 2:20PM
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grandad_2003(9A/sunset 28)

I plant How Sweet It Is (sh2, white) on rows spaced 2 1/2 feet apart with plants about 8 inches.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2008 at 3:06PM
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daryljurassic(OHIO 6a)

This will be my 2nd year of corn. Last year was incredible. I used Urea and just sprinkled it inbetween the rows. So what are some fert. application methods? I will have two 30 x 30 plots this year. I'm guessing a broadcaster is bad? (At least when they are small.) What about a hand crank type? How important is it to work it into the soil? Is raking it in fine or not necessary?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 9:57AM
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timmy1(6a ri)

If you want a decent size ear, you need 2.5- 3.0 sq feet per plant. Especially if you are growing 80 day or longer corn.

10x16 is 160/2.5 or 64 plants.

With the right varieties, at 2.5 you will get 2 ears per plant.

Jam 128 plants in there and you will have twice as many ears half the size of the garden with 64 plants.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 12:18PM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

When mine are close, I don't get two ears per stalk....usually not two nice ones with medium spacing...your experience may be different...mine about 50 years or more. I'm talking about full sized corn varieties.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2008 at 12:50PM
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caesar.augusts(8)

I'm doing 4x4 this year in a small garden. 4 rows @12" with 12" btwn plants. I expect small 6-8" ears, also interspurced with pole beans to provide extra nitrogen. This is my first corn attempt. Should be interesting as it is in the ground as of 15 Feb, survived a light frost just fine.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 11:16AM
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thegreatcob

you guys really need to learn basic math and geometry. then mix in some commonsense.

if you have 3 beds 4ft wide 10 foot long with 2ft wide path in between each bed. if plants are planted 1ft apart in all directions in the bed you can plant 120 corn plants in all 3 beds.
if plant them with 6 in spacing you can grow 240 plants.

class dismissed !!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 12:34PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

Corn spacing isn't about geometry it's about light, As in how much area a plant needs to intercept enough light to produce a decent ear. The reason some people get away with very tight spacing is because they are planting in very small plots. There is a huge border effect with corn because it is a tall crop and spreads it's leaves out a bit on the edge.

In a big planting where there is no border effect you need about 2 sq ft per plant to get one large ear on an 80+ day sweetcorn. There will be some second ears of a smaller size. The denser you plant any corn the smaller the ears and the less second ears.

Corn needs a certain amount of light to produce a given amount of corn. A higher density does intercept a larger percentage of incident light but past a certain point some plants fail to produce an ear. These are called barren plants. They are just weeds wasting light. Once you increase density to the point that you start getting barren plants you are headed towards lower yields, not higher.

Field corn is planted at densities that intercept 90+% of incident light so as to maximize yield per acre. These field corns are bred to resist barren plants. Usually sweetcorn is planted at lower densities because ear size is more important than yield per acre.

This post was edited by fruitnut on Wed, Feb 20, 13 at 14:28

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:25PM
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RpR_(3-4)

Posted by caesar.augusts

"I'm doing 4x4 this year in a small garden. 4 rows @12" with 12" btwn plants. I expect small 6-8" ears, also interspurced with pole beans to provide extra nitrogen. This is my first corn attempt. Should be interesting as it is in the ground as of 15 Feb, survived a light frost just fine."--------------------------------------------------------Unless you really like beans, do not waste time putting them in.
They do NOT help the corn.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 2:40PM
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thegreatcob

fruitnut good try but that theory is bunk through and through.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:27PM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

thegreatcob:

Well give us your theory then. I couldn't understand the point of your earlier post.

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 9:37PM
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thegreatcob

fruitnut the distance between rows has nothing to do with
sunlight it is all do to spaces for weeding before modern herbicides,access for detasseling, width of plow, and the blades of harvester. most home gardening till 1970 took info agriculture colleges who main interest was teaching farmers
and they just gave same info home gardeners.

I could point you to at least 10 articles on the subject but since most are pre-internet it would a bit hard for you get copies of them. but if you insist I will post a list for you.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 12:38AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

thegreatcob:

I didn't mentioned row width once in my post above. Equidistant spacing in all directions is indeed best. But growing corn is all about sunlight. That is the one and only energy source the plant has to produce ears. Without the suns energy there is no grain on fieldcorn or kernels of sweetcorn. And there is a direct and unbreakable correlation between light intercepted and amount of corn produced.

If you can grow corn without light you can be a billionaire and save all the world's starving people.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 8:38AM
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thegreatcob

fruitnut total BS

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:11AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

No sir you are the BS, I'm the retired professor of agronomy. Thirty years at Texas A&M, thank you and have a good day.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 11:50AM
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pls8xx

What fruitnut says mirrors my own experience with corn. Corn requires both a certain volume of soil in the active root zone and a certain minimum of sunlight to produce. Go below either of those minimums and there is a significant negative impact to the harvest.

Some of the tighter corn spacings suggested here are, IMO, nuts.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 2:28PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

you guys really need to learn basic math and geometry. then mix in some commonsense. class dismissed !!

Geeze, dig up a 5 year old thread from the archives just to insult the rest of us rather than try to contribute something helpful. Classy act.

Dave

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:17PM
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thegreatcob

fruitnut show me an actual study with the data. you word and claim of authority. means nothing here since you can not prove who you are online.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:17PM
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thegreatcob

digdirt you the one who need to look again since i did not bring up this thread back up.

    Bookmark   February 21, 2013 at 3:32PM
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Michael

Just an observation, having visited this thread tonight reading from top to bottom it appears the cob has an ax to grind and is doing so in a heated manner. We can agree to disagree but please let's keep it civil. By the way Cob, it is about the "light" in the end, just plant any crop at too high a density and see what you get. Corn, being a C4 plant is particularly sensitive to PAR levels.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2013 at 8:26PM
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thegreatcob

michael357 i have no ax to grind.
I got it sharpened last week.
there for 4 spacing distances for corn they depend on the:

corn height/length of maturity to determine the spacing

4 per square foot early maturing varieties
2 per square foot mid season maturing varieties
1 per square foot late season maturing varieties
1 per 2ft x 2ft for indeterminate height varieties
michael357 you points over complicate it.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 2:41PM
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Michael

Hey Cob, seems we were both in a sharpening mood lately, just finished the saw chains myself. By the C4 I simply meant compared to C3 crops which can tolerate the lower PAR levels better, it's simple biology really.

Your 4 spacing distances and the varieties they are used for seem to illustrate my point, don't plant too dense or in essence you'll have the under story leaves receiving too little PAR for them to contribute to growing cobs.

I thought of another factor not yet brought up, where one is growing the corn. If you are in high altitudes and/or areas with a lot more normal cloud cover during the growing season, that will effect spacing. Even if your atmosphere tends to be a little hazy due to humidity that can be an advantage as the incoming light gets scattered and can penetrate a dense canopy at many different angles. Lots of variables at any rate to be sure. Experience is definitely the best teacher in one's own area.

BTW, I'm not trying to be snotty, hope I don't come across that way.

    Bookmark   February 23, 2013 at 5:45PM
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mrdoitall(7)

thegreatcob are you Mel Bartholomew from Square Foot Gardening? you got any pictures of this corn you grow 12"x 12" spacing? I would like to see this and how well it worked. I tried what I call double row last year. First row planted 8" to 12" down the row. Next row over 12" with same spacing. Then 24 between double rows. Then repeat double rows again then space 24" between double rows Repeat. The corn on the outside rows did okay but the corn in the center rows did nothing for me. Maybe them little raised beds will grow corn that way. What about it Mel. You got any pictures? That what I thought.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:25AM
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thegreatcob

mrdoitall
1. i am not Mel.
2. i don't have working camera
3. the spacings i listed are based off several sources.
4. square foot works due to the richness of soil.
5 sounds like your doing wide row gardening by Dick Raymond

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 12:56PM
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wertach zone 7-B SC

Can't we all just get along? :) :) :)

I don't have a dog in this fight since I am a row gardener and I have plenty of space.

I make my rows 3' apart, my tractor determines this. I thin the sweet corn to about a six inch spacing in the rows and have 2 big cobs per plant most of the time. Three years ago I didn't thin due to not having time and I had smaller and fewer ears.

However this could have came from the overall neglect that year.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 1:46PM
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RpR_(3-4)

One thing I have done, with rows, at times, is to make the rows so as the sun traverses through the sky the sun shines down the rows.

Good- as middle corn gets more sun, bad -as the ground dries out faster due to sunshine.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Michael

wertach, if we can't mount a rational attack on the message, we can always go after an easier target, the messenger :) I'm a linear gardener too as I always irrigate with drip tape in this desert climate. Sweetcorn is my easiest crop between the hand planter and drip irrigation.

    Bookmark   February 26, 2013 at 9:49PM
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willjo

Can I get away with 10" plant spacing with 24" rows growing a 78 day 6.5/7.0 ft tall corn. I have a 300 sqrft garden and the breed is a shQ-mirai corn.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:11PM
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veggiecanner(Id 5/6)

How your soil is has alot to do with determining the space of your planting.
After many years of gardening I have learned less plants are just better than to many.
In my soil I would plant rows 2 foot apart plant 6 inches apart, But I don't use chemical fertilizers.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2013 at 4:35PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

What a cornacopia of answers. After growing corn for 4 decades my best method is a wide row (15" wide) with the seed zigzaged down each row spaced about 12" apart -like this :

.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'.'

The wide rows are 3' apart.
I too find that lighting is important and that corn can shade and crowd itself into producing just 1 ear per plant. Planting rows in a N-S orientation helps prevent self shading and with these new sweet strains (Se, sh2) 1.5 ears per plant is sometimes the best one can do unless growing space isn't a problem.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2013 at 9:41AM
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wareagle43

I have found about 8 to 12" apart works well and rows 2 feet apart. Also here is a tip my father taught me that works very well when the corn is about 1 foot high dig a 2" deep trench about 3" away from base of stalks and put in a line of straight nitrogen (33-0-0) do not put to much but a good little line will do. Do this just before a rain or planned watering. Then sit back and watch your corn jump about 2 feet taller it also strengthens the stalk. It acts almost like a miracle on how fast it works but be careful to much nitrogen or to close to plants will burn them up. I am sorry I can't tell you exactly how much nitrogen to put I just have a feel for it because of what my dad showed me.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 5:21PM
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kiss1111

So the great cob is a teacher, why is it the cocky ones seemed to have flunked math? A four foot wide bed with 1' spacing makes 5 rows. As well youcan put 11 plants lengthwise in 10' beds. So we now have 165 plants in 3 beds, not 120. You can do less, just thought I'd be as cocky as you!

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 12:03AM
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wayne_5 zone 6a Central Indiana

I have plenty of room. I use rows 28 inches apart and 12 inches apart in the row. The varieties I grow usually make one nice ear. Some make a shorter second ear in good conditions. Granted, those shorter second ears are high quality.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2014 at 10:41AM
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