Sweet Corn problem - FL

pastor_steve(9)May 14, 2012

First year in FL from IN, and so far my garden is a "mixed bag"... some things better than ever... others not so much. Problem 1 - Sweet corn. I'm in a much smaller space, so I've tightened things up. Only about 5'X15' of sweet corn (my old reliable Kandy Korn went in the ground 3/15). I augmented the "soil" lots! Planted much tighter than normal, 18" rows, 4" spacing. Came up nice, plenty of water and fertilizer. Started to tassel two weeks ago (very short for KK), but as of today tassels empty and NO SILKS... ANYWHERE! Can't find a trace of where they would have been if they'd have started and insects destroyed. Minor leaf damage at edges, but all promptly dusted and no apparent infestations. I'd have understood uneven pollination due to the tight space, but no ears at all, even buds. HELP!!!

"PS"... the corn's coming out... will sweet potatoes follow it with normal re-charging of fertilizer and compost? Right time of year for them? (Between Tampa and Ocala)...

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Steve, the sand soils in fla are incapable of raising corn without constant massive and hideously wasteful apps of npk. Corn in fla is done on the muck soils.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:32AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Oh, really, pn? I grew corn in my sandy soil two times in the last three years and had some wonderful tasty corn. Sorry I can't tell you the variety. It was a bi-color.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:11PM
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Seems to me with amended soil you'd get something. Presumably with your experience you can tell obvious stressors like too wet or too dry. Did you do any sort of soil testing? You might be too alkaline. Might be missing some trace minerals. Was 4" your seed spacing or final spacing after thinning? If you were still 4" after thinning, that's too close. I'd spread out the spacing until you get good results.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:14PM
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P.S. I might also switch to a shorter, earlier season variety that won't feed as heavy as the relatively tall Kandy Korn, at least until you sort things out. Spring Treat, for example.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:23PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

I would check with the local agricultural center to see what corn and other veggies are recommended for your area. A soil test is a must. The ag center can help you with that too. I am from Pa and it took me awhile to get used to the different planting dates and plant varieties down here. It was fun to learn though. Still learning.The last time I grew corn it seemed to take forever for the ears to grow after the corn tasseled. We even grew a fall crop one year. I was out covering the stalks with blankets and sheets because we had an early frost. It made it! Thank God!

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 4:44PM
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Pastor Steve,

Try to county extension service. It's free advice and I've had good experience with our local here in Kansas.

This is the Polk County Florida County Extension Office.


I hope this helps.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 5:06PM
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Numerous insects clip corn silks. Yes, contact your extension department.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 9:00PM
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If you plant corn too close, it will not form ears at all, only tassels.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:01PM
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What is under your sand, Zackey? More sand, or a little silty or clayey material?

Most of central fla, like polk county, under the sand "topsoil", which averages about 1% om, is more sand. Under that is more sand. Water and nutrients have no place to fetch up. Contrast some areas of north florida, like some of the panhandle, and IME some of the Alachua county area, where there can be silty- clayey deposits under the sand. There corn is more realistic. Indeed, north florida had cotton plantations on the best lands, so we know that there are some good spots. Peninsular fla is not that way with few exceptions, other than the muck basins.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 7:40AM
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fruitnut Z7 4500ft SW TX

If you reliably want ears on Kandy Korn you need a wider spacing than 4x18 inches. At that spacing on poor soil you'll only get ears on the outside stalks.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:25AM
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Thanks to all... I'll give it another shot and re-space them out more. I'll check the soil too. Appreciate the help!

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:32AM
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