Thursday, January 31, 2013

Corn in the Backyard (How I got into Gardening)

The Beginnings of the Garden
Starting corn seeds in window
Starting my first seeds in the kitchen
My gardening adventures started around June of 2012, when I decided it would be humerous to grow corn at my house. I bought a seed packet from the store and started the seed in the kitchen.
I soon realized that I had no space in my backyard to actually plant my babies in the ground. Improvising, I found a large tote lying around and figured corn in a container would be even funnier to see. I bought some soil from my local hardware store's garden section and planted the corn straight into that. Now being the noob gardener that I was (and still am), I had no idea how big my plants would actually get. I had 10 plants in the container at about 4-6 inches of space between them.

Corn starting in bin
This is going to be absurd.
I figured the best way to care for the corn would be with consistent and constant watering, which I did. I watered the planted every single day with a hefty amount. I'm glad that water isn't too expensive around my area.
Knee high by the Fourth of July
Knee-high by the 4th, you say?
It took me quite a while to locate an optimal location for my bin. As you might recall, 2012 was the hottest summer on record in America, with my area being no exception. My main issue though, was locating a spot that had optimal and maximum sunlight. My house acted as a good umbrella most of the morning, only allowing about 2 hours of light before noon, and several thereafter. I positioned the bin next to my wall, saying that it being white would help radiate heat and light down onto my plants.
Larger corn stalks
The Great White Wall helps the plants grow faster (and loads of chemical fertilizer)
Some of the most exciting moments of my experiment were when the corn got really tall (tallest ones were over 7 feet, not including the raised part of the bucket), when the tassels emerged, and when the silks emerged. Because I had so few plants compared to a regular field, I had to hand pollinate each silk. Pollen is messy, it got nearly everywhere when I shook the plants.
Tall corn stalks
Size Matters, taller is better
So from these 10 stalks, I only got 9 ears of corn. A few of the stalks produced zero ears, and a few produced two. It was a good learning experience for me. I learned how crowding plants can affect the growth and yield of them. I also learned that despite what others say, you can get away with growing something like corn in a container. It opened the door to many new experiments and configurations I now try with my new garden on the balcony of my apartment.
Harvested ears of corn
Learn more about this variety of sweetcorn

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