please help me save my son's corn

nocluewhattodoAugust 13, 2014

We live in the city, hardly any grass anywhere. My 10 year old son got some corn seed and planted then in a small strip of dirt on the side of my home. He watered them faithfully and to my complete surprise, they actually started to grow! He was so excited. They were like 4 feet tall already.
But last night we had a rain storm and this morning I see that the stalks have snapped.
My son is so disappointed.
I have zero experience in planting anything...
I am wondering if there is any way to save the corn...
Someone, please help me!

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If the stems are broken, there is nothing you can do, I'm sorry. If they were pushed down but still have roots but maybe roots are showing like a toppled tree, you can try pushing upright and putting some more dirt around the roots.

Corn is nice big seeds and easy for kids to plant but this was a project almost totally doomed for failure. I hate to see a child disappointed but maybe you can talk to him about growing plants and get a substitute for him to take care of that might have a lot more chance of success. If he likes pizza, how about a potted basil plant to keep on a windowsill. Even a cut stem of basil has a chance of rooting and then he can enjoy harvesting some basil leaves for pizza.

I think beans on a narrow strip would have been better or grow something in a large pot.

Have a talk with him about success and failure. Even the most experienced farmer can get hit by blight or hail. And look around next year for some kind of gardening experience for him.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 10:40AM
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jimster(z7a MA)

Often, corn which has lodged (been blown down by wind) will right itself after 3 or 4 days even when it looks hopeless. It is amazing to see. I suggest doing nothing for a few days and see what happens.

There are different types of lodging, so it may not work. Worth a try though.


    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 11:02AM
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Did the stalk actually snap? I've had my corn get laid over with roots exposed. I planted them back up, added extra soil and got a tremendous yield despite the naysayers. I used the french intensive method when everyone here said to lay them out in single rows. I'm not a farmer, I'm a gardener. Over 100 ears of corn in about 36 square feet and no weeds! Oh and that year a four year old helped to plant, easy for his little fingers.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 3:08PM
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Tx for the replies. Yes, the stalks actually snapped, though they are still technically attached. :-(
I tried to rreinforce the roots with more soil.
Honestly, I have no idea what I am doing.

My question now is, shud i cut off the tops at the juncture where they snapped? The rest of the stalk (the bottom foot) still seems healthy.

    Bookmark   August 13, 2014 at 6:53PM
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If they have snapped, it leaves room for disease. I believe defrost49 may be correct. But hey it's a garden and gardens of any type are experiments. Does your son like science? Perhaps, they will off shoot at the tops. I had a lab that ate the tops of some of my corn one time, some grew, some died. They were only about two feet tall. Also, I'm with Jim, I always wait three days. I like the number 3 such as 3 strikes your out- easy to remember. Plants will usually tell you what they are going to do in 3 days.

What zone do you live in? The United States Department of Agriculture has set up plant hardiness zones nationwide. For instance where I live in NC, our county has two zones, 7A and 7B. We have about 200 possible days of growing most things. Zones are determined by lowest average temperature. So in our neck of the woods, that's about 0 to 5 F. You can find out your zone by googling "what zone"

Corn takes 60-100 days to mature, depends on the type. October here is a funny month, sometimes frost, sometimes not. I am planting cool season things now, but most others are finishing up, doing their canning, etc.

Don't let him give up on growing things! Barnes and Noble had Square Foot Gardening 1st Edition by Mel Bartholomew on sale for about $7.00 a couple weeks ago. There is a new edition out. There is also Strawbale Gardening by Joel Karsten. I started one set of great nieces and nephews on SFG, got them some miracle grow potting soil when it was on sale and added some peat moss. This stopped us from having to scour the countryside for vermiculite which was not at the big box stores. Another set, we started straw bales because they were easy to get in their area of the country, and their parents didn't want to give up a 4x4 area so we took a 3x10 due to yard layout, it worked great. The straw bales also gave them a great start on composting. They grew top crops and when those things were spent, planted root crops. They started in fall so they were able to get straw bales free or really cheap, planted spinach, lettuce, cabbage, broccoli and then in spring potatoes. Now that set has gone on to take another part of the yard over-they got the bug. They are experimenting with traditional gardening, raised beds and something else with logs -I don't remember the name.

If the corn is not growing, teach him about composting. Besides this website, there are many, many more that can help. Though I prefer gardenweb, I would suggest starting with your agricultural extension officer for your county.


    Bookmark   August 14, 2014 at 9:50AM
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