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Corn in containers

Posted by cao409 Philly, PA (My Page) on
Thu, May 3, 07 at 13:31

Hi Everyone,
I have 3 20 gallon tubs do you think corn would grow in them. I really don't have much room in my garden and I would like to try it. But I don't want to waste the tubs if it won't work. I could always plant other things in them.
Thank you,
Colleen


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Corn in containers

You can grow corn in the containers, but with a harvest of 1 to 2 ears per stalk, hardly seems worth it to me. How many were you going to plant in each tub?


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RE: Corn in containers

With that few corn plants, it may not pollinate well, and your harvest could be even lower than the usual 1-2 ears per plant... If you try it, when the pollen starts flying, make sure to go out and shake the plants well to distribute the pollen abundantly over the silks.

I'm with rhizo, it seems the tubs could be put to use on something that would give you more bang for your buck, but I think it would work. Good luck!


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RE: Corn in containers

Yo! Fellow Philadelphian -- How Youse doin'? Ah, j/k. I'm in Philly too, but don't talk like that. LOL I will be trying to grow some popcorn in a container. Never did it before, so I, also, am not sure if this will work, however, I can offer some suggestions, that might convince you to go for it.

Growing up, my brother collected turtles, and had so many, most of them lived in a turtle pen in the backyard. Turtles need a variety of food to eat, including fruit, veggies, fish, and hamburger. (Not a good idea to use manure from flesh eaters, but we survived.) The pen was about 10' X 6', and he grew tomatoes and some leafy veggies for the turtles to eat, whenever they wanted. He also liked experimenting, including starting a mulberry tree (still there as a large tree now) and, popcorn one year. He grew 2 rows of them, 8-12 stalks total, and squished them all together much closer then farmers do it. (I think roughly 6". Also, he grew them in the ground, not containers, but I am telling you all this to let you know how he pulled it off.

When the silk and tassles were ready to pollinate, since he had so few, he would take one of the tassles, lean it gently over to another plant's silk, and shake. He'd do each one carefully, and, when he was done, he'd cut off a couple of the tassles, and tickle each silk once again. He grew enough popcorn to last us through the winter, and our family (six people), who ate popcorn 2-3 times a week.

Also, just finished a book about creating a sustainable garden in containers for tight spaces. That author suggested using tall plants, like corn and fruit trees, as poles for pole beans. If you do that, the worst that can happen is your corn doesn't develop ears, but your beans have a natural pole.

And finally, although I've never grown corn, last year I grew a relative of corn, Job's Tears. Found out it takes a whole lot of space, and needs to be planted right ASAP. Apparently that grows in containers, even if it's so big, only one plant could survive in your container.

I think experimenting is part of the joy of gardening. Always fun when a brilliant idea actually works, and if it doesn't, we can always visit Home Depot, Lowes, or Walmart to get a plant for that spot.


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RE: Corn in containers

20 gal tub is about same size as the 'earthbox'. They recommend 16 corn plants per tub - probably an early variety. Check out the earthbox . com website - they have a forum there also. Do a search on corn - lots of info on it. I vote 'yes' go for it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Earthbox forum


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RE: Corn in containers

I have started 3 large 50 gallon containers containers (obtained from Big Lots for $14 each) of corn from seedlings obtained from Lowes. I planted in a 2x4+ grid most of which were multiple plants. I didnt bother to thin out and honestly I am just lokign for a conversation piece slash privacy screen - that as a bonus will grow some corn. I will post pics and keep you posted. If seriously interested billocala AT gmail.com and I will reply direct with my reports of fail...er success!


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RE: Corn in containers

cao,

Yes, corn can be successfully grown in containers. I had a nice harvest last year in 31 gallon containers:

This season, I am planting 15 stalks per container as I believe I will get a better yield by leaving 6" between plants:

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

  • Posted by tesa001 z8 plantersville tx (My Page) on
    Sun, Apr 5, 09 at 21:52

i'm new to this forum, i usually hang over in the
texas forum.

i've gotta say "wow" corn in a box! lol

you've inspired me! i think, next year, i'm gonna
give that a go

maby i'll try popcorn, the kids would love that

my girls have asked me to try ornamental corn, for
our fall celebrations, but i think popcorn will be
better

tesa


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RE: Corn in containers

Last season grew corn for the first time and it was in my Earth Box. I grew 16 plants in a 29" L x 13.5" W x 11" H box. I had so many ears and they were good. From now on I will grow my corn in a Earthbox/Earthtainer. Give it a try.

Larrick


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RE: Corn in containers

While having grown indoor plants in self-watering pots, I have not used any EarthBox, EarthTainer, or other outdoor planters. My local Wal-Mart has a cast-plastic, heavy duty black tool box that measures 40 x 24.5 x 18. Comparing that to an EarthBox below, you will see this allows me more room to grow.

40 inches (compared to 29)
24.5 inches (compared to 13.5)
18 inches (compared to 11)

I am debating how deep to make the soil before placing the aeration screen and water reservoir. Also, I am wondering about scaling the planting schemes from the earthbox.com website for the box. If anyone has built self-watering containers in larger sizes, please feel free to comment. I am hoping to grow some sweet corn in the middle with a couple cucumber plants on one end and a small tomato plant on the other end.


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RE: Corn in containers

Silver Queen
Here's a pic of mine from last season.


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RE: Corn in containers

earthworm73,
In Ray's corntainer, I see ears of corn. Do you have any pics of your corn yields in the smaller earthbox? Just bought my first earthbox and found the inner dimensions are small.
12" x 27.5" at the top
10" x 26" at the aeration bench grid

Not very deep either, as I measured 8" of soil depth, 0.5" of air space, and 2.5" of water.


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RE: Corn in containers

deep,

I have been making this request to see actual photos of mature corn growing in an EarthBox for 9 months now, and no one seems to be able to post any. Can it be that digital cameras shut off after July 15???

I have a "vacant" EarthBox in my garden right now, and I would love to use it for an additional 24 ears of corn as others claim, but I am just having a hard time rationalizing how anyone can get productivity like that from a vessel so relatively small.

Here is a closer up photo of several ears in one of my EarthTainers last Summer:

You can see that even in the EarthTainer, which holds double the potting mix that my EarthBox holds, that 24 plants were way overcrowded.

This year, I have allowed for a 6" spacing between stalks, and I am hoping I get a better useful yield:

I have staggered planting every 2 weeks or so, with 5 different varieties. I'll repeat for a second crop series with 5 new varieties starting after the first harvest in July.

BTW, the Snow Peas I planted in November are literally shooting through the roof!!

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Raybo,
Much appreciation on your response. I used to grow sweet corn at 12" spacing in open field, then 8" in in-ground garden, and 6" in my raised beds. I have experimented in my raised beds and found 5" to 6" in row spacing with 12" between rows was optimal for me when squeezing the planting. Having just purchased an EarthBox for experimenting, it would seem more reasonable to grow either 10 or 11 stalks of corn than 16 in an EB. However, I would be looking at adding another EB to get at least 20 stalks for better pollination.

I am not sure about the your earthtainers, but know mathematically the spacing pattern below can fit more stalks equidistant than a typical row planting:

X.....X
...X...
X.....X
...X...
X.....X
...X...
X.....X


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RE: Corn in containers

I tried corn in a SWC last year and it only got about 6in tall then it got colder and they started dying. Thing is it was mid July when I planted them and I had 20+ in the same container. This year I only have 8 and started much earlier.

Last year I also tried Atlantic Giant pumpkin. It was doing good until I made a huge mistake and killed it lol. Hopefully I'm smarter this year. BTW already have a few blueberries in containers starting to change color. First year so only like 20-40 per plant.


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RE: Corn in containers

When I look at earthworm 73's photo, it looks like with all that foliage you need to refill the EarthBox daily (or even more frequently when it gets hot). That seems to me to be too much trouble for a dozen ears of corn.

I can hear when my AWS system runs, that the CornTainers are always the last ones to shut off. I think I am going to use my vacant EarthBox to grow peppers this year - - corn just looks to "unreal" in one - - until someone shows me a photo of an actual ear of corn growing to maturity.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Raybo,
Another mystery is the actual potting mix capacity of the EarthBox. Google turns up recommendations of 50, 60, and 75 quarts. I bought a 64 quart bag of Miracle Grow potting soil this afternoon and will be finding out the actual capacity by hands-on experience. How much soil does the Earthtainer hold?

Aside from testing the EarthBox this year, I have another idea today. I am thinking of burying a 5 gallon bucket under 12" of raised bed soil. I would then use a screen to keep the soil out and a tube to fill the bucket with water. I am wondering if the bucket will supplement the top irrigation of the raised bed by allowing the plants to send roots down through the soil into the bucket for their additional water needs. I imagine this would help tomatoes, pumpkins, melons, etc. My rough ASCII art below might give you an idea of what I mean. The 'D' represents dirt and '~' represents water.

................PLANT................
DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
DDDDDDDDDDDDDDDD
-------------------------------
DDDDD:~~~~~~~:DDDDD
DDDDD:~~~~~~~:DDDDD
DDDDD:~~~~~~~:DDDDD
DDDDD:~~~~~~~:DDDDD
DDDDD:________:DDDDD


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RE: Corn in containers

Ladies and gents I wish I had taken pics of my mature corn from my EB. But I didn't. I asure you I had at least 2 avg-large size ears per stalk. I began harvesting at about the 2nd week in Aug. if memory serves me right. I had so much corn I got tired of eating them (wife refuses to eat veggies, just like a 3 year old). Raybo you are right in the hottest part of our summer up here (end of July/start of Aug)I was filling that bad boy up every morning. But I didn't mind. My tomato boxes were just as thirsty if not more. I will make it a point to take pics of my mature corn this year altough I will not be growing them in my offical EB but in a homemade ET to fulfill crop rotation. BTW...is crop rotation neccessary in a EB type system?


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RE: Corn in containers

deep,

In my EarthBox, it was full with 1.6 cubic ft of potting mix. The EarthTainer took 3.3 cubic ft. of potting mix to fill. Guess which one I am going to grow corn in???

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Did a little searching on corn research and found that some researchers found corn performed best when spaced 7.25" apart in rows and 30" between rows. Another researcher noticed that 4.4" to 6.8" between stalks in rows at 15" between rows could produce high yields when moisture and nutrition were properly managed. Of course this was in conventional field planting. With the EarthBox, the following in-row spacings were calculated based on taking the listed number of corn stalks per container and giving them the same amount of in-row growing space.

Six stalks (3 per side)
6.875" spacing

Eight stalks (4 per side)
5.5" spacing

Ten stalks (5 per side)
4.58" spacing

Sixteen stalks (8 per side) EarthBox's recommended spacing
3.05" spacing

The between row spacing in the EarthBox would be 8", if each row was planted 2" away from from the long wall of the container.

Planting six stalks might be ideal, but at $49.99 for my EarthBox kit, $13.99 for potting mix, and a yet undetermined amount for an automatic watering system, this would be some expensive sweet corn for only six stalks. This would be pricy even when planting the EarthBox recommended sixteen stalks of corn.


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RE: Corn in containers

This is awesome. I have an extra 30 gallon container ready to convert to SWC and I am now going to be planting corn in it.

Any Issues with starting corn in a SWC in a greenhouse? I can move it out as the weather warms up.


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RE: Corn in containers

imstill,

From my meager knowledge, you may want to use a "northern" optimized variety for cool climates. It would probably work best in your PNW climate.

Let me know if you want 20 seeds to try and I will send them to you to experiment with.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

The pictures of corn growing in containers look great ... I am curious though, why do you keep the lid on the Rubber Maid Containers? Is there a specific reason?


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RE: Corn in containers

coach,

The purpose of keeping the lid on the EarthTainers are twofold. First, it holds down the black moisture barrier to lessen evaporation. Second, as these Rubbermaid containers are meant for indoor use, and have limited UV protection, the lid takes the hit, and not the top rim of the EarthTainer.

By replacing the lid with the spare one saved in the construction process, I am expecting to get about 3 to 4 years from each lid. Rotating the 'Tainer 180 degrees at the beginning of each new season should also extend the 'Tainer's life. If I get 6 to 7 years life from the outer shell, I will be a happy camper!!

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

I knew I saw in corn in EB somewhere but could not remember where so I just googled it. Scroll down and you will even see harvested corn.

Here is a link that might be useful: pics of corn in earthbox


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RE: Corn in containers

farkee,

Call me cynical, but I still do not see ears of corn growing in the Earthbox. I do see a woman holding 2 ears of corn standing in front of an Earthbox - - but I REALLY want to see an ear of corn actually growing off a stalk in an Earthbox. Look closely at the photo of the woman holding the 2 ears of corn. Do you see ANY ears growing in the background behind her??? None that my eyes could see.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

What is this world comimg to? lol

Do you think that nice lady bought grocery store corn and stood in front of the EB?

Well, that sent me on a mission to find another pic. Don't know if they super-glued this corn on or not.

Here is a link that might be useful: more pics


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RE: Corn in containers

farkee,

What I saw in the photos you referenced was an ear of corn that could not be more than 3 inches long:

This looks NOTHING like the two 12 inch long ears that the woman was holding standing in front of an EarthBox, on her blog.

I want to believe, I want to believe, I want to believe!!!

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Ray, you have given me a new directive in life. Grow corn in an earthbox. The problem was when I grew it in the ground it was so darn buggy from the moment it popped up I never got anything.
The next year I was ready for all that. I then watched and watched my supposedly sweeter than sweet corn grow and with great anticipation picked it and it was the starchiest, non sweet corn I ever tasted. Inedible. Don't think a cow would have even liked it.

Oh well, I will get an EB all ready. We can plant anytime between Aug and Mar. I may try for Oct. once all the hurricanes are gone. I will have my camera all ready and glue if necessary.


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RE: Corn in containers

farkee,

Please do not trouble yourself with growing corn in an EarthBox to show it can be done. I am using my EarthBox now growing 6 pepper plants, which I think are a more suitable vegetable to grow in them.

It just really puzzles me that I have been asking folks who grow in EarthBoxes for more than 2 years now, to PLEASE show me a photo of a full maturity ear of corn actually growing in one - - but nobody has posted such a photo.

The EarthBox is an excellent product, and I am happy to own them - - but why no one's camera seems to work beyond July 1 is a mystery to me.

farkee, let's just put growing corn in an EarthBox alongside String Theory and Dark Matter - - you just need to have faith!

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Oh, it will be fun.


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RE: Corn in containers

Raybo,
This year I promise to post my corn grown from my EB for you my friend. Last season I was unaware of your request for pics of full grown ear of corn from a EB. Had I known I would not had a problem posting pics. But I have no reason to lie about my results I DID have ears in the 9"-12" range and eventually got tired of eating corn after a while. farkee, do whatcha wanna do but growing corn in a geniuine EB or a homemade Raybo Earthtainer is all the same IMO.

Larrick


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RE: Corn in containers

Larrick,

No one is doubting the personal integrity of anyone who posts here. But I have seen more pictures of UFOs than I have of real corn growing in the EarthBox.

I want to Believe, I want to Believe, I want to Believe!!!

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Hi folks,
I think I am having a problem with my corn in containers. I am using 18 gallon containers filled with Al's 5:1:1 soil mix. I water over the top with an old fashioned bucket. The corn is 12-16 inches high and the plants are looking good EXCEPT: I noticed this afternoon all the plants are leaning about 30 degrees due to the wind. The wind today has been 10-12 Knots with an occasional gust to 17. I had the same problem with my tomato's in the 5 gallon buckets, however, I tied them to the stakes and that will take care of them. Have any of you had this problem with corn? If so, what did you do to solve the problem.
Thanks for any and all help.
Steve


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RE: Corn in containers

Hi Esteban_2009,

I have 16 corn growing in a 27 gallon container. I had a similar problem a couple of times after heavy winds. The first time they were leaning about 30 degrees after gusts of about 40 mph. I put a couple of 2x4s on sides of the corn (against the edge of the container) and a couple of days later they were straight again. I then took off the 2x4s for some dumb reason.

About a week or 2 later, there were some gusts again and the corn were bent over in different ways and one was bent over about 60 degrees. I put the 2 2x4s back and just tied some twine to the container and around the corn to help keep them straight. Perhaps the below pic will show this a little.

The twine seems to work great for me as I haven't had problems since. Corn is ridiculously cheap (I saw it at Kroger for something like 4 ears for a dollar the other day) so I'll won't be growing corn in one of my containers next time as there are so many other crops with more of a return.

Hi Ray,

It's always cool to see your pics. It looks like you have 3 rows of corn in your "earthtainers". Do you have 2 skinny fertilizer strips between your rows?


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RE: Corn in containers

bleedenver,
Thanks for the response, your corn looks great!
I just realized I have a problem greater than the wind.
After re-reading "Corn in containers", I realize that I used a container half the size of what other folks have been using. The containers I am using are 18 gallon, I see now that the rest of the folks are using 27-31 gallon containers.
This will be much more of an experiment than I originally thought :)
When I learn how to post photo's to this site, I will send a few.
Thanks,
Steve


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RE: Corn in containers

Steve,

18 gallon containers will work fine. You will just need to do some hand pollinating due to the fewer number of stalks in the container you are using. I also hand pollinate with mine, as I want to make sure the ears develop as fully as possible.

My Gotta Have-it are developing nicely:

I am also growing a variety called "Legend" which has the most beautiful red silks that I've ever seen. Kind of the Peggy Bundy redhead (Married with Children):

Stunning color!

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

blee,

I don't use a fertilizer strip. Instead I use a water soluble Sweet Corn fertilizer I buy from Gurney's:

I alternate in doing a top down watering at each stalk base; and then dump 2 tablespoons of it down into the filler tube, pull up the tube one inch, then hit it with the hose down the filler tube to disperse it around in the water reservoir.

Regarding spacing, I have gone with 3 rows of 5 stalks each:

Each of the stalks has at least one ear on them as of today, so giving them a bit more room than I did last year seems to be paying off. Looks like your spacing is about the same as mine.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Ray, I think you should do an experiment with traditional strip fertilizer vs. the Gurney's. Last year my EB provided fertilizer (10-10-10)strip seemed to do pretty good.


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RE: Corn in containers fertilizer

Larrick,

I was a bit concerned that the strip would "burn" the corn adjacent to it, so that is why I went the water soluble route. To be sure, it is more work than just laying down a strip at the beginning of the season, but I'll give it some thought for next season. Maybe a combination of the two might do best. The fertilization process, frequency, etc. still needs a lot of research to get the optimum results.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

I planted 2 rows of 7 each in two different 30g containers and used the strip method will let u know the results


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RE: Corn in containers

Thanks Esteban,

The below pic better shows the twine which I used to keep the corn from bending over too much. It's nothing professional but it works. ;)

Your smaller containers should be ok but be careful with the plant spacing. Maybe you can try planting about 10 corn in your 18 gallon container?

Hi Ray,

Thanks for the info. I saw that you had planted 3 rows of 5 and thought a fertilizer strip between the rows might be too close to the plants.

I actually planted mine similar to the earthbox planting guide with with 8 seeds in 2 rows and a fertilizer strip (using a cheap 9-12-12) in the middle. Two of the seeds didn't come up at first so I had to reseed their "spot" a couple of weeks later so those plants are smaller than the rest. You can see that the 3rd and 8th ones in the front row are a bit smaller than the rest.

One of my corn has 2 ears and the rest have 1 ear (except for the 2 late guys are just coming up with their tassles now). From your post, I guess you tried the 8 x 2 row setup last year but didn't get an ear of corn on each plant? If this is right, maybe the higher phosphorus with your Gurney's fert this year is the biggest factor?


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RE: Corn in containers

bleed,

Last year, I planted 4 rows with 6 stalks each. Way too crowded, and only got the same production that 15 stalks would have probably given me.

What I do now is start the corn seeds in a utensil tray filled with Miracle-Gro potting mix, then transplant them as seedlings into the 15 slots in about 2 weeks. I always start 18 or so seeds per 'Tainer so that I can cull out the best 15 to transplant. This avoids re-seeding the "no-shows" and having them lag the rest.

It also gives me a 2 week jump on the season, as well as the same jump from Crop #1 picking in June, to 2 week old seedlings ready to go in end of June for Crop #2 start.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Hi Raybo,

I got a late start with the corn so just planted in the container but I really should have planted 2 per hole.

I really need to get more organized next time and plan ahead more. In any case, I'll hopefully be enjoying some big fat ears of fresh corn in a week or 2 now. :)

Brian


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RE: Corn in containers

Fresh sweet corn! I just ate the little guy (with the husk partly off) and a bigger one. The little guy was completely filled out. The bigger one had a few kernels missing but both were great!



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RE: Corn in containers

You are killing me here!!

Great looking photos.

What variety are you growing, and when did you start your seeds?

Mine is a week or so away from first harvest:

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Very inspiring garden. Best in smaller space garden. You've given me a good idea on how to grow plant in a container box.


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RE: Corn in containers

Thanks Raybo,

Yours are looking great and I'm sure you'll be enjoying a lot of corn in the coming months.

Mine was "Brocade F1 hybrid" (78 days) from Garden's Alive. http://www.gardensalive.com/product.asp?pn=3037&bhcd2=1245009779

I pre-sprouted the corn in a paper towel and planted them as soon as there were some roots coming out. I didn't really keep records of things this year but I'm pretty sure I planted the corn on or a few days after March 24. I have a picture of the corn container complete with 16 holes in the plastic covering on this date. I think I planted them later that day also.

There were 1 or 2 times when I either covered the containers or brought them into the garage and used an aquarium heater down the fill tube.

Brian


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RE: Corn in containers

Hi Raybo,
A few post up,you mentioned hand pollinating corn.
When should this be done and how.
Thanks again,
Steve


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RE: Corn in containers

Hi Steve,

I hope it's ok if the answer comes from someone other than Raybo. The tassles on top of the corn has the (very fine) male pollen which has to reach the silks which grow out of the corn cob.

Each of the silks lead back to a kernel of corn. Once a grain of male pollen hits a silk, it slowly dies and a kernel starts forming on the cob.

I just cut some of the horizontal tassles and shook it over each of the silks every once in awhile. You can see a very fine dust (the male pollen) drift away from the tassle when you do this.

If your plant is ready, it's especially good to do this before a heavy rain because heavy rains can wash a lot of the pollen away.

Brian


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RE: Corn in containers

esteban,

What Brian says.

I try to get "up close and personal" by taking a tassel from an adjacent stalk and roll it up in the silks. See the center ear in the photo below to illustrate it.

My goal is to get maximum transfer of pollen from an adjacent tassel onto the silks.

Raybo


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RE: Corn in containers

Hi Raybo,

I am the woman standing in front of the earthbox holding ears of corn -- I assure you they WERE grown in the earthbox.

I'll try to see if I can get some good photos of them still growing in the boxes. Right now the photos on my blog that show the whole plants are from earlier in the season - and for the "harvest" photo I just wanted to show the actual ears of corn, never stopping to think that someone would actually doubt that the ears came off of the plant I am standing in front of.


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RE: Corn in containers

Just thought I'd bump this thread because I needed info on 27Gallon container for corn and I'm sure someone else is looking for corn/container info. I've got the 27 gallon black with yellow lid from Home*Depot set to grow corn - just container for now not SWC.

DL


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RE: Corn in containers

I talked to a woman who does sprouting and she also has a garden, mostly in containers. She said she had corn planted in half barrels and she used the "three sisters" plan like the Native Americans did. She plants a corn in middle, then squash or pumpkin (probably small ones) around to keep the dirt cool and retain water and then puts in beans to grow up the stalk. She does organic gardening and does not use animal additives so she uses liquid kelp as a fertilizer and compost. She started planting as an experiment and she says it works well. She plants about 6 barrels with some in popcorn, a Japanese corn and another corn. She suggested I try it.


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RE: Corn in containers

I didn't do too bad with this last summer - I used an old Rubbermaid round trash can and the new Burpees container corn ( I think it's called on-deck hybrid. The stalks are shorter than regular corn but the corn is the same size). The seeds are pricey, though, I'll warn you - $6.00 a packet for 50 seeds. I also started several of the stalks indoors and transplanted them - that kept the varmints from eating my corn seeds. I don't know that you have to do that, though.


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