Author Topic: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?  (Read 5545 times)

Offline zackandjen2004

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Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« on: March 23, 2012, 08:45:41 PM »
If you have ever grown a VERY large corn patch, would you please share your experience?  I am looking for: variety selection, fertilization/soil conditions upon planting, spacing and seeds per acre, cultivation methods, and RESULTS. 

Tell me your corn story! 

Offline Cedar

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2012, 09:33:39 PM »
  I am looking for: variety selection,

What is the end result for the corn? Multi Purpose, human consumption, animal consumption, sweet, parch, meal?

Cedar

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2012, 01:23:41 PM »
Are you a heritage seeds only advocate? What will you be using to plant with?

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #3 on: April 04, 2012, 05:37:02 AM »
My local industrial farmer will be planting Truckers Favorite for me with his corn planter: 30" rows, spacing TBD.  Fertilization will be chicken litter from a CAFO (instead of ammonium nitrate).  Cultivation will be by HAND using a low wheel hoe and colinear hoe. Big weed pressure from burcucumber, pigweed, and lambsquarter. Land has been conservation plowed and disked once.  Will have be be disked again before planting.

I plan on hoeing 10-16 hours/wk.

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2012, 03:35:37 PM »
Cedar and cheryl1, do you have experience with field-scale hand cultivation?  What variety did you grow?

Offline Cedar

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #5 on: April 06, 2012, 04:23:54 PM »
I have never planted over 1/4 acre of corn and mostly it is alot less than that. I raise it more for conservation at this point than my main meals.

The varieties I have:

"Bloody Butcher" - OP Heirloom, pre-1845 - THIS ONE I AM GROWING OUT THIS YEAR
"Country Gentleman - Heirloom 1890   Corn -"Calico" Popcorn
"Golden Bantam Improved"
"Hickory King" - Dent Heirloom 1800's
"Hopi Blue" Heirloom/Native - Flour/Dent
"Howling Mob" Heirloom pre-1932 Landrace
"Mandan Bride" - Flour Heirloom/Native
"Oaxacan Verde" - Dent  Heirloom
"Painted Mountain" Heirloom? Flour/Sweet
"Roy’s Calais" - Flint Heirloom/Native
"Stowells Evergreen"  Heirloom 1800 - THIS ONE I AM GROWING OUT THIS YEAR
"Supai" - Parching
 "Yukon Supreme" - Sweet Corn - THIS ONE I AM GROWING OUT THIS YEAR
"Two Inch Strawberry" 
"Thanksgiving Bouquet"  - Popcorn
"Calico" - Popcorn

I do not grow each variety out each year as I have to separate by time or distance. Often I will send a variety out to someone to grow out, such as "Howling Mob" to Nic here at TSP. I can grow out the three particular varieties that I chose this year as all their pollinting times are 10-14 days different from each other. I wanted the "Bloody Butcher" as I want some cool cornmeal.

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Offline Cedar

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #6 on: April 06, 2012, 04:37:31 PM »
If you have ever grown a VERY large corn patch, would you please share your experience?  I am looking for: variety selection, fertilization/soil conditions upon planting, spacing and seeds per acre, cultivation methods, and RESULTS. 

Variety selection:
I select with varying ideas. What is fun, what is the weather doing this year, what heirloom corn is turning into older seed in my seed bank and I need to propagate some more of?

Fertilization/soil conditions upon planting:
I tend to live in wet/cold zone 8 or zone 2/3 with 90 days of gardening MAYBE. I toss manure on my gardens in the Autumn from the barns. I use compost. I use no commercial fertilizers. In Canada I did not exactly 'compost'. I tossed my compost in layers on the garden to freeze, then break down and 'rot' in. My corn rotted out last year as the soil never warmed to above 50F and it was too wet. No germination in soils under 50F.

Spacing and seeds per acre:
I plant 2 to the hole. Depends on my garden that year and how mad I am *LOL*. Generally I plant 6-8" all the way around and in blocks. Corn is wind pollinated. After last years first planting, I broad sowed the corn, did I see any real difference? Not last year. It was a beyond lousy gardening year.

Cultivation methods:
Usually I till and plant the seeds on my soaker hose line (I have 2,200 ft or so of watering system soaker hoses). I have also planted corn in raised beds. I noted no real difference. I don't hoe or hill.

Result:
USUALLY edible sweet corn. Last year was pathetic and even the "Roy's Calais" did not do as well as the "Year without a Summer" which it is famous for. I have not actually ground cornmeal before, so that is one of my fun projects to do this year. I want to grind enough of the red this year that I can do yellow next year, then blue and then green. I am not growing popcorn here this year, but I will see if I can farm some "Calico" out to a friend this year.

Cedar

Offline cheryl1

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2012, 03:03:48 PM »
Cedar and cheryl1, do you have experience with field-scale hand cultivation?  What variety did you grow?
The most I do by hand is a patch of 16-20 rows, 20 feet long. I think your estimate on hoeing time is wayyyyyyy low if you are wanting a huge patch. Might be better off to plant two rows very close together (3 inches or so), and leave enough space between them and the next row to fit a mower in.As far as variety, I like Gurney's Gotta Have It, or Ambrosia

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #8 on: April 11, 2012, 08:18:30 AM »
My garden partners and I planted about 2000 row feet of sweet corn yesterday on 5' centers: Peaches and Cream and Merit.  That's not the feed corn patch, but the truck-garden patch!   We plan to cultivate intensely on the sweet corn.   It's ironic that after two full months of late spring weather we are NOW getting the seasonal early spring weather.  Freeze warning!  It will take the corn days to germinate anyway, so we're not in danger of losing any in this cold snap.  Corn planting date for our area is April 15th, so we're about right on time.  Also, we decided to NOT fertilize for this go-round.  The soil is so rich anyway that we can probably get away with that once.  Serious cover-cropping this fall/winter! 

I have to get outside and make my poor little broilers a wind-break.  There's a fire in the wood stove for the first time in a month. On April 11.  Of course.

Offline Cedar

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #9 on: April 11, 2012, 09:26:32 AM »
My garden partners and I planted about 2000 row feet of sweet corn yesterday on 5' centers:

Each corn seed is planted 5 foot apart or was that supposed to be inches?

It's ironic that after two full months of late spring weather we are NOW getting the seasonal early spring weather.  Freeze warning!  It will take the corn days to germinate anyway, so we're not in danger of losing any in this cold snap. 

What is your soil temp? If it is not over 50F (and maybe a bit more) as corn likes a higher GDD. If it is too cold and wet you may rot out as it is tool cold for germination.

Cedar

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #10 on: April 11, 2012, 04:04:50 PM »
Sweet corn is planted with an Earthway garden seeder corn plate--every 9 inches or so?  The twenty 100' rows are 5 ft apart.  We may plant a low-growing cover crop in between rows of sweet corn. What have you used for low-growing summer cover crop for weed suppression?

We've been unseasonably warm for 8 weeks.  I have squash sprouting in the compost pile and out at the market garden there's heirloom corn (from last year) that's already germinated.   We're in southern Appalachia, zone 6b.  It's not too wet. 

GDD?  I'm not familiar with that...

Offline Cedar

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 04:13:40 PM »
What have you used for low-growing summer cover crop for weed suppression?

Other than squash, nothing and only squash when I am running out of room.

GDD?  I'm not familiar with that...

"Growing-degree days" (GDD) or heat units has been developed to more accurately rate corn maturity. In calculating growing degree days (GDD), temperatures from a lower limit of 50F and an upper limit of 86F are accumulated for the growing season by applying the following formula to each day's maximum and minimum temperatures. Maximum temperatures higher than 86F are entered as 86 and temperatures below 50 F are entered as 50 in the formula. GDDs are accumulated from seedling emergence until physiological maturity.

Cedar

Offline zackandjen2004

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Re: Anyone have experience with 2+ acres of corn?
« Reply #12 on: June 09, 2012, 04:09:59 PM »
Update on the corn project...

Hand cultivation worked up till this week.  Now we're down to weedeating JUST the rows, not between the corn plants.  Always, always on the hunt for burcucumber.  We pull those as we find them.  Where I was able to a VERY thorough job in and around the individual plants 4 weeks ago there is indeed less weed pressure in general.  The areas that I couldn't get to thoroughly are full of sod, spiny amaranth, and lambsquarter--a carpet of weeds.  Nevertheless, the corn is green and competing successfully.  There seems to be a green manure cycle going, which is satisfying.  We will continue to weedeat until we can't weedeat no more!  Truckers Favorite is a very tall corn.  Come July it's going to be over our heads. 

I must admit, there was a point where I looked out across the sea of weeds and despaired.  I actually suggested we plow it under.  Still, when push came to shove, I picked up my hoe with the others and kept working.  Had I truly meant what I said, I would have quit and walked away.  But I kept hoeing.  Still, there's never a guaranteed result.  When my partners speak about tons of corn to store I say, "We'll see!"  I really hope we get a yield.  It won't be for lack of effort if we fail.