Corn in raised beds

lilacs_of_mayMay 31, 2008

I have 3x3 raised beds that are about 11 inches tall. Is that enough to plant a patch of sweet corn in?

I'm thinking about next year. It's too late this year, and they're all filled, anyway.

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Corn should be in rows 18" to 24" on center and the the plants 8" to 12" apart. So if you put them in a 3x3 bed, you'd only have room for 5 or 6 plants, and their roots might be weakened if the walls of the bed are not reinforced. Corn is often blown down by strong winds, so strong roots are important. Why not just till up a larger area, maybe 8X8, and plant them on the flat, and use the raised bed for smaller plants?

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 9:57PM
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I have another area, 7x20, but it doesn't get full sun.

Too bad. I really wanted homegrown corn.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 11:34PM
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Well I have my corn in a 2 by 8 raised bed this year - lots of it - and I have indeed grown it in a 3 by 3 before. I have gotten 12 plants in a 3 by 3 with no detriment, and nothing blew down or fell over. I am sure this is not ideal for assorted reasons, but I wouldn't hesitate to repeat the experiment as it worked well for me. All you can do is try.

    Bookmark   May 31, 2008 at 11:52PM
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happyday you incorrect corn can easily be planted in a 4x4 or 4x8 bed with 1 foot between plants on all side. rows are only need if use a tractor. Row are an out of date planting method any way unless are growing commercially on large scale.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:36AM
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And another thing -- I'm not quite sure how best to reinforce the walls of my raised beds. I suppose I could drive stakes every several inches on the outside to make sure the boards stay straight.

I'd plant it in the larger beds, but I'm quite sure that it wouldn't get enough sun. And since most of my back yard is on a slope, I don't have a flat 8x8 area in full sun that I could use.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 2:53AM
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If your seed packet indicates thinning to 6", you can plant 4 corn plants per square foot. In theory, you could get more than 80 ears out of a 3'x3' intensive planting.

In practice? I'll let you know in August or so!

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 10:32AM
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Forgot to add the picture :)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 10:35AM
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This is one of my corn beds. This one is 4'x4'x10". I have 64 corn plants in it. I also have the same size bed with Incredible corn in it and in a couple of weeks I will plant another bed with Silver Queen. It is doing great so far. I hope it continues to do so. Click on the link below for the pic.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:07PM
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Also should have mentioned. You can see hte netting laying over the stakes driven into each corner of the beds. Netting is to keep birds away and other small animals. The stakes also will provide another service. I can tie a string aroundthe stakes so hold up corn plants if they may start to lean. I can also tie a string in an "X" fashion so the inside plants get a little more support.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:14PM
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Sure, you can plant corn in a 4x4 or 4x8, I never said you couldn't, did I? Rather, I described ideal field planting conditions. Are those incorrect?

Go ahead and plant where ever you want. If they are crowded or stressed too much, you will get shorter stalks, smaller ears and more susceptibility to smut, which you might actually want as some cultures consider it a delicacy.

I know this because I tried growing them closer together. Tornado's planting might succeed. When your corn is mature you will see why they need so much room, not just so all the leaves get sun but also because the root system is extensive at the surface. Each stalk ought to get a full square foot of soil all to itself, IMO. YMMV.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:18PM
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Dapper and Tornado, will you please post another photo in August? I'd like to see how it turned out.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 12:33PM
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sinfonian(U8b A2 S5 SeaWA)

I too am trying intensive gardening with my corn. I've got a 4x11 bed that I'm planting about 200 stalks in. I've seen it work in pictures and was recommended to use this method. We'll see. Here's a pic of my bed fully planted out with two varieties.

I succession planted from left to right as the sun comes from the right. I planted with 3 inch spacing with 8 inch rows. And before anyone complains, it's an experiment, and I've seen it work (though in hotter climates). /shrug

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

    Bookmark   June 1, 2008 at 5:23PM
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Middle of July update - early corn is tasseled and working on ears. Mid-season corn is starting to tassel - should go in succession over the next few weeks. Have some late season corn that is still quite small (under 10") on the far side of the bed.

June 21st

July 11th

    Bookmark   July 11, 2008 at 7:22PM
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I have grown corn in a block just 6" apart in all directions.... and for me the key was additional fertilizer as corn is a heavy feeder.
I don't recall exactly the size of the block, as it was at our other home we have since sold. But It was approximately 4' x 24' long... We grew silver queen and we got nice big ears, and lots of them. Just feed them extra fertilizer... we used about 3 lbs. for the bed... plus we always amended the soil wit lots of worm castings... The only time we had smut was one summer that was unusually wet and hot... but really not all that much smut. We mulched with hay to help keep the weed population down.
All the local farmers said it couldn't be done.. but then took their hats off to me, a mere citified female, when I got a nice bumper crop of corn. Dipel kept is from getting wormy.

I say go for it...and don't worry about naysayers...


    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 3:37PM
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I just dove into it...I planted 9 corn seeds in a 3'x3'x6" bed. 7 sprouted. I tried to follow more seeds where 2 didn't sprout, so those are a little behind the first set.

One stalk in the middle does seem to be close to tipping over. Otherwise, they all have tassels at this point and are between 5'-6- tall. Also, the space does get full sun.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2008 at 6:56PM
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