Corn is a nutritious crop with a rapidly growing importance in the market for its delicious taste and proteinous nature. Plant Corn is extremely easy and it is high in demand along with some other crops like wheat and cotton, etc. Corn is one of the world’s most sought-after cereal grains. You can also Grow Tomatoes and make the salad with corn.
Types of Corn:
Amongst many different varieties of corn following are some of the best options to plant;
- Ambrosia Hybrid: It is plump, yellow, and white corn with a super sweet taste. It should be planted in full sunlight for best results.
- Blue Hopi: It has 5-foot stalks that produce 7 inches of very dark beautiful blue ears with a sweet flavour.
- Golden Bantam: The stalks reach around 5 foot high and bear two 5½ to 6½ inches long ears of beautiful golden colour with a sweet old fashioned flavour.
- Honey Select Hybrid: It grows best in full sun and reaches up to six feet in height producing ears between 8 to 9 inches long and has a rich sweet flavour that is unrivalled.
- Jubilee Hybrid: It produces ears from 8½ to 9 inches long with almost 20 rows of kernels. They are a bright yellow, thrive best in full sun, and slightly acidic soil. Like every other type, it is deliciously sweet too.
Corn is a tender crop which is best planted as seeds directly in the ground. The most suitable sowing season for corn seeds in spring i.e. after the last frost has passed. It requires 2 to 4 months of the warm environment with an air temperature of around 60 to 95℉ so it can germinate and grow well.
Corn seeds are to be sown 3 to 5 inches apart, 1 to 1½ inches deep, and side by side in rows to form a block. Corn needs to be grown in a sunny and wind-protected area and supplied with water every day to avoid wilting due to the heat. Avoid overwatering plants, especially when tassels are visible otherwise it would be a hindrance to pollination. Corn seeds thrive on heavy consumption of nitrogen hence adding compost and manure to the land before planting is important as well as side-dressing the crop with compost after it is 10 inches tall, 18 inches tall, and lastly when they tassel.
Succession plant corn is a way to gain a higher yield with a variety. To carry out this procedure continue to sow seeds every two weeks until 6 weeks.
- Apply mulch to prevent weeds from sprouting and kill all weeds thoroughly because corn can not compete with weed.
- Be careful not to damage roots while taking out the weeds.
- It is best to water the soil from below and avoid spraying the tops so pollen does not get washed off.
- Keep the plants hydrated.
- To protect corn kernels from birds or insects it can be covered with a rubber band or paper bag after pollination.
- Having very few plants or overcrowding can result in poor kernel growth so the number of seeds should be sown with care.
- Removing side shoots or suckers is not necessary. Avoiding it would be better so no harm is caused to the roots.
- Introduce phosphorus into the soil to avoid phosphorus deficiency which can result in stunted and discoloured plants.
- Remove smutted corn ears from the stalks and area of the plantation.
Corn plant issues
Pests and diseases are the most common problems faced while planting corn.
Pests include cutworms, wireworms, flea beetles, corn earworms, and corn borers, etc. To avoid earworms add some drops of vegetable oil through the ears of the kernels, this would cause the worms to suffocate and die. Other than that the best control method is to look for the pests, handpick, and destroy them. Keep the area free of waste material where pests like earthworms can live. Use traps and fences to keep off pests like raccoons.
Corn plant diseases
There are various types of diseases that an ear of corn can catch such as;
- Grey leaf spot: caused by a fungus in extended hot or humid weather. The leaves affected by it are small and chlorotic.
- Northern corn leaf blight: caused by the Exserohilum turcicum fungus, it forms a tan-coloured canoe-shaped lesion on the leaves.
- Common rust: caused by the Puccinia fungus and early symptoms include chlorotic flakes on the leaf surface.
- Southern rust: caused by the fungal pathogen Puccinia polysora, it forms fuzzy, raised structures called pustules containing spores.
- Anthracnose: is caused by fungi in the genus Colletotrichum and creates dark, sunken lesions on stems, leaves, etc.
- Eyespot: caused by two closely related fungi; Oculimacula yallundae and Oculicmacula acuformis and symptoms include diffuse, elliptical, or eye-shaped lesions on leaf sheaths.
To avoid any such diseases all the tips and guidelines should be followed with care.
Around 3 weeks after silks appear to check the ears to see the ripeness. If upon piercing the kernel with your thumb white liquid spurts out it indicates peak ripeness and now the corn is ready to be harvested. Another way to confirm if corn is ready to be harvested is by the colour. A dark green ear and brown silk show that the kernel is fully ripened. Keeping the ears in cold water immediately after harvesting preserves its sweetness.
Corn Harvesting Tips
- Prepare and test machinery/equipment a day before you plan to harvest.
- Combines should be driven fast but not too fast.
- The best time to pick corn is early in the morning or in the late evening when the weather is cool.
- If you harvest manually to make sure to grasp the corn ear firmly, twist, and pull downward.
- Use equipment if you are harvesting larger quantities.
- If you are using a mechanical harvester it is best to harvest the corn when it has shorter shanks and lighter coloured husks.
Importance of corn
Corn provides us with a huge source of nutritions like water, protein, carbs, sugar, fibres, and fat, etc.
The products made from corn such as corn oil, popcorns, sweet corn, etc are popular and the future only seems brighter as more corn recipes keep popping up and demand increases globally.
Plant Corn is a very important in the market today with high value due to its versatile nature. The high-quality corn brings a large income to farmers however the possible use of husk to feed the cattle attracts their attention and interest.
Climate change is a risk factor for corn production as a two-degree rise in temperature could result in less yield but a four-degree rise could lead to a higher yield.
World production of white and yellow corn combined adds up to 570 million tons with the prices depending on the overall supply and demand situation.