This kid that works for me (my "gardener," which sounds a lot more
pretentious than it actually merits), insists that to grow corn, it
has to be in full sunlight and you have to have at least three rows in
order for it to germinate. Is this true?
The "at least 3 rows" idea is a step in the right direction, but there's a
better way. The idea is that corn is pollinated by wind. It receives pollen
from its own stalks at the top of the plant, and from adjacent plants.
Sometimes, home gardeners plant just one row, and the wind blows much of the
pollen off to the side where it achieves nothing. So, at home, it's best to
plant in "hills". They're not really hills, just circles. Put 5-6 seeds
around the circumference of a circle about as big as you can make with your
arms. Make the next hill a couple of feet away, and so on. If you don't have
compost, scratch some grandular 10-10-10 fertilizer into the soil.
When I first grew it, my landlord was constantly bringing me fish he'd
caught, and he reminded me to bury the remains near the corn after I was
done filleting the fish. The result was 600 foot high corn. I might be
exaggerating, but not much.
Yield is pretty much proportional to amount of sunlight, all other factors
Planting scheme has nothing to do with germination, but corn planted
in other than big blocks (10x10 row minimum) should probably be hand
pollinated (easy but tedious) to avoid lots of "blanks" (undeveloped
Corn is terribly sensitive to drought during the stages that the pollen
is developing (from before tassel emergence to full tassel),
so it needs to be kept watered at that point especially.
And there are some other gotchas with pollination, depending on the type
you're growing -- supersweet, extra sweet, regular...
I still say most home gardeners are better off buying their sweetcorn
locally from produce stands when you consider space and water and time.
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