Importance of Hilling Corn
Some of the important reasons we like to hill corn is for weed control, to prop the corn up, and to create more brace roots at the bottom of the plant. Greg doesn’t like to use any herbicides on his corn, therefore small weeds will begin to pop up around the corn plants which is not good. To gain weed control, Greg simply goes down the row with his wheel hoe and throws soil to the plants and in return smothers the weeds out of the area. Another reason we will hill corn is to keep the plant from sulking out down at the bottom which is not needed. It can also make your corn stalks stronger because when we throw soil to the plants we will develop healthier root development in the garden.
Process of Hilling Corn
On this week’s episode, Greg is demonstrating how to hill corn using the High Arch Wheel Hoe. He is currently growing bloody butcher field corn to make grits and corn mill once it is ready to harvest. However, he also is going to try the Jimmy Red variety which is rare red corn that he has not grown before in the garden. When Greg’s corn gets up to about 12 inches tall that is when he likes to hill the corn. When preparing to hill corn, Greg is going to side-dress the corn using Chilean Nitrate because it is a natural form of nitrogen that hits the plants quickly when water reaches it. For hilling corn, we suggest using the High Arch Wheel Hoe that has a 15-inch clearance that ensures we get plenty of room that allows us to straddle taller plants. Another advantage of using this wheel hoe is the ability to adjust the furrows in and out depending on spacing needed to hill the plants. After you hill the corn once and it grows taller it will create a higher shade canopy that will almost eliminate the number of weeds germinating in the soil.
Planting Field Corn
The best time to plant field corn is during the spring and can be grown throughout the warmer months up until fall. We recommend planting field corn using our Hoss Garden Seeder to provide accurate spacing in the vegetable garden. We also suggest using drip tape irrigation because corn is a heavy feeder and requires plenty of water and fertilizer for growth. When growing corn it is best to avoid overhead watering because the plants grow so tall that the irrigation will not reach the roots effectively in the garden. In order to lay drip tape quick and easy, we prefer to use the Double Wheel Hoe with the Drip Tape Layer attachment. In the garden, we can succession plant field corn to get maximum productivity and save space. We can get two succession plantings of field corn when planting in early spring and late summer. Another important factor when planting corn in the garden is to plant in square plots or blocks to ensure the corn receives the needed amount of pollination it requires to develop productive quality ears of corn in the vegetable garden.