Spring is in full force and I’m a little late getting to a lot of projects — not the least of which is my garden. This year I’m going to grow some sweet corn. I read in another gardeners blog that it’s possible to freeze your sweet corn once it comes out of the ground and get delicious fresh tasting corn on the cob well into the fall and even winter.
In the past, since my corn all got ripe all at the same time, I ended up giving it away or having it go bad. But, now that I have the possibility of storing it, I’d like to push my yields up as much as possible without losing the taste- yum…But, I’ve got some questions what’s going to work best on my patch of ground so I think I’m going to try some tests this year.
Liquid Starter Versus Dry Starter Versus. No Starter
This agronomist from the corn school thinks that you”re leaving money on the table if you don’t go with a starter. Of course, he’s talking about commercial field corn production and I think the fertility in those fields and organic material is going to be a lot lower than what I have in my garden plot. Regardless, I’m going to test it. Plot 1 will have no starter. Plot 2 will have a liquid starter corn fertilizer, and plot 3 will have a dry starter in it.
Side Dress Versus No Side Dress
Most big commercial corn growing operations like the one in the video above side dress their corn once it’s emerged — around v5 of so to make sure that there is enough nitrogen to supply the fast grower during the rapid vegetative state. You “side dress” so that you can get your fertility down into where the roots are growing into without burning your oorn’s young leaves with ammonium.
You can also do it by hand like in the video here:
I’m going to test a few rows with liquid N, some more rows with blood meal, and some rows with nothing. I won’t be testing the timing or amounts of the nitrogen application, just the different products. I’m going to try to get them all on when the corn is around “knee high” or early on in the vegetative state.
Later Season Foliar Fertilizer Spray
I read on a couple of blogs that growers were seeing fantastic response from foliar sprays, both applied early on in the season (v-3 and onward) and then again even later in the season, v-5, v6, and on into the reproductive cycles that happen after the corn “tassels”.
Then, I read on some extension agronomist from a local university that foliar feeding a crop with a waxy leave surface like corn was a waste of nutrients. Basically, the idea behind foliar feeding is that you can get nutrients to be taken up by a plant’s leaves…bypassing the roots and any nutrient tie-up issues that might be happening in the soil. If you can get it to work, the plant responds really quickly since it doesn’t have to get into the soil water and into the roots to be recognized by the corn.
To test out his theory, I’m going to try several different sprays I saw advertised on high brix gardens and also on nutrition farming. I don’t have exactly how I’m going to design the splits yet, but once I do I will post here and also post the before, during, and after photos of my corn harvest.