Corn question

btbarbara(7b/8a)July 5, 2011

I read some posts about growing corn in containers and since this year is all about experimenting, I figured why not. It's just my boys and me so even if we get 3 ears of corn, it will be fun and any more than that would be aweseome. Besides, it makes my neighbors think I'm crazy because I'm growing corn in rubbermaid in the middle of suburbia! :) I have a 30-gal rubbermaid and I think about 15 stalks growing in there. They're a little above waist-high right now.

I filled the container with half MG potting soil and half Black Kow, mixed it up pretty well, then watered. The next day I planted the seeds about an inch down and they sprouted a few days later.

The thing is, now I think the soil has settled a lot, splashed out (it's GA where we go weeks without rain and then get a DOWNPOUR all at once), whatever. I thought these stalks would get stronger as they grew, and they do look healthy and sturdy, but if you look at them wrong they fall over. On a couple of them, I can actually see the roots peeking out of the top of the soil (I pulled one up about two weeks ago and was shocked at how deep the roots went though). Every time the wind blows, they're completely sideways. I usually panic and try to stand them back up but if I don't, they eventually stand up on their own..mostly.

I've tried to kind of mound the soil up around the base of the stalks that keep flopping over the worst but that hasn't helped too much.

So what I'm wondering is is this just normal for the stage of the development they're in? Will they correct themselves? Or should I add some more soil to the box to give the bases more support? The top of the soil is now about 3" below the top of the container so there's plenty of room to add 1-2". Will that make matters worse if I bury the bottoms of the stalks? Should I add soil or something like Black Kow (or something else)? I have a tendency to "fix" things to death so I'm trying to make myself leave them alone but it's driving me crazy!

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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Sounds like somethings wrong ,the plants should be strong and standing erect.
My guess is the soil is too wet ,Do you have drain holes ?
I wouldnt add any soil ,and especialy not any compost or manure products(Black Kow) as they hold too much water.
Try lifting the container may give you an idea how much water is in there.
Over watering is the most common problem with new growers.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:18AM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

I thought I already posted this but apparently I didn't. I drilled a TON of drainage holes (come to think of it, maybe that's where some of the soil went!) but it is possible I'm still overwatering. Everything else tends to look really wilty and thirsty so I just go ahead and water the corn while I'm at it. I don't water it as much as everything else but I do soak it good once a day at least. The stalks are strong and sturdy...they don't bend at all, they just tip over at the soil line. It's like there's no stalk at all below the soil line so they topple over (because they are really sturdy and don't bend in the wind). They'll stand back up and reach for the sun but as soon as the wind blows, they fall over again. Like I said, on a couple of them, you can clearly see the line between the stalk and the roots and it's just barely above the soil line which is why I thought the soil had settled and let the stalks "rise" a bit. I'll try cutting back on the water and see what happens. I need to keep them alive long enough to get a few ears of corn...otherwise I really am crazy for growing corn in plastic box in my FRONT yard! haha

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:25AM
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terrybull

with all that corn in a container there isnt enough room for the anchor roots to get enough of a hold. next time plant the seeds 2 inch deep. p. also try a cage like i do.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 10:26AM
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dickiefickle(5B Dousman,Wi.)

Can you stake or tie them around something?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:17PM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

Terrybull...thanks so much! I saw your pics last night on a different thread. At this point would you think I should add a little more soil to bury the bottoms of the stalks or just try to rig something to prop them up and hope for the best? I'll definitely plant deeper next year if I do this again.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 1:42PM
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terrybull

the roots that you are seeing are the anchor roots. you can put some more soil on the but it probally wont help that much. so i would stake them or cage. i have dedicated cages to certain plants. corn cage, tomato cage, tomatilo cage, pepper cage etc.

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 5:47PM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

Hi Terry! How much corn do you have in each container? It's been a while since I actually counted what grew but I'm pretty sure there are 15 stalks in the 31-gal tub. I definitely thinned out the ones where two stalks were growing in the same spot (although some of the ones I snipped off at the soil line were stubborn and kept coming back! Anyway, I'm just wondering if that's too many? It seems like it all shot up really quick and then just stalled. It's about chest high right now but no tassles. I think I planted about 2 weeks after the farmer down the road (I planted mine about June 15) so I've kind of been watching his to see what to expect but he's had tassles for a while now. His also seems to have stopped pretty short but of course I have no idea what variety it is or how good of a farmer he is. haha Yours seem to be packed in there pretty tight too so I don't want to thin at this point if I don't have to but I don't want to stunt their growth either.

We had a really bad storm this evening. My corn had straightened up and was standing strong so I hadn't gotten around to supporting it yet. Well, I came home this evening and it was COMPLETELY flat. I almost cried! I scrounged around to see what I could come up with for support and finally settled on bamboo stakes and twine to make a redneck cage. I used 12 stakes around the container and wrapped with twine so hopefully that will offer a little support against the wind. I didn't have money for anything better right now. I already gave up on my pumpkins, I really don't want to give up on the corn but I just need to know that I'm not wasting my time/energy/water/space. Thank you for any advice you have!
This was BEFORE the storm today:

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 11:25PM
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terrybull

i have 14 plants in each swc. like i said eatlier there is not enough surface area for the anchor roots to get a good hold. so they need some kind of cage or support. corn is a heavy feeder and needs regular fertilizing. i add a slow release in the soil that last the season. like raybo and the earthtainer has 15 plants in those swc.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2011 at 9:41AM
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btbarbara(7b/8a)

Woke up to see one stalk has a tassle....hopefully it's just a matter of time...

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:36PM
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