Planting Fall Sweet Corn
When it comes to planting fall sweet corn or any kind of corn variety it should be planted in blocks or squares for better pollination. Planting in blocks instead of long rows ensures that once the crop starts tasselling the wind can effectively pollinate the corn. Corn is a self-pollinating plant that produces a male flower, which is commonly referred to as a tassel, and a female flower, which is commonly referred to as the silks. In order for kernels of corn to be produced by the plant, the male flowers must pollinate the female flowers. The male flower is located at the very top of the plant whereas the female flower is formed along the stalk of the plant. The male flower contains the pollen, which is primarily spread by wind, that will be used to pollinate the female plant in the garden. Another major factor of planting sweet corn is it needs plenty of drip irrigation to grow throughout the growing season. Since corn is a heavy feeder it needs plenty of water and fertilizer to get healthy producing plants in the vegetable garden. We suggest using 20-20-20 around four times throughout the growing season. The garden previously had a silage tarp over the area to help improve the garden soils before planting fall sweet corn. Once the tarp was removed we used the Double Wheel Hoe with the plow set attachment to create furrows where our desired rows would be and a place to bury the drip tape.
Hilling and Side Dressing
In the garden, we have seven rows of Peaches and Cream Sweet Corn that is around a foot or a little over in height and is ready to be hilled. The hilling process basically means we will throw soil on top of the bottom structure of plants in order to provide a strong base stalk, kill off germinating weeds, and help retain soil moisture. However, before we hill sweet corn we need to side-dress alongside the stalks. By side-dressing, we are able to add a good quality granular fertilizer which helps add a slow-release action to the corn plants. We recommend using a side-dress fertilizer such as Chilean Nitrate and the general rule of thumb is to put around ten pounds per thousand square feet of corn. When side-dressing the fertilizer you need to place it close enough to the plants for the plow set to cover and bury it but not so close that it burns the plant. When going to hill the corn plants we suggest using the High Arch Wheel Hoe which allows us to go along the row of plants and easily hill in one pass through. Another advantage of using the high arch is you can adjust the distance between the wheels to either narrow or wider hilling position. Overall, hilling and side dressing fall sweet corn allow us to make our garden rows more manageable and increase our production in the vegetable garden.