Analyzing our 2022 garden: corn

Okay, it’s that time! I’ll be working on a serious of posts, going over how our 2022 garden went, what worked, what didn’t, and what didn’t even happen at all. This is help give us an idea of what we want to do in the future, what we don’t want to do in the future, and what changes need to be made.

We planted three varieties of corn in 2022.

I think it’s safe to say, all three were a fail, though we did actually have a few cobs to eat from one of them.

Two varieties were direct seeded in a new garden bed.

Sod had been removed and new garden soil brought in. In the above photo, you can see the squash that had been transplanted. There’s a triple row of sweet corn in the open area between rows of squash in the back, and a thin double row of popcorn between rows of squash in the foreground.

Eventually, this entire area did get well covered with cardboard and mulch, which helped a lot, but there was just nothing that could be done once the flooding started.

The Results:

The sweet corn started to recover quite nicely, though the green bush beans planted with them did not survive and another type was planted later.

Then the winds got them.

I was able to add twine supports to hold them all up and, amazingly, they survived.

It wasn’t much, but we even had a few mature cobs to pick.

No such luck with the popcorn. This was a variety that only grew to about 2 feet tall, but they never reached that height. Cobs started to form, but never had a chance to mature.

It was very sad.

Then there was the kulli corn.

These were planted in a low raised bed in the east yard, with yellow bush beans in between for nitrogen fixing. Unlike the other corn, these were started indoors and transplanted.

It took a while for them to get over transplant shock, but once they did, they got HUGE and seemed to thrive in this bed.

Eventually, tassels started to form at the top, but no cobs. Not a single cob formed, anywhere.

Kulli corn is a deep, dark Peruvian corn that I would like to acclimate to our area. Unfortunately, there isn’t a lot of information about them. They seemed to do so very well, and yet… not even a hint of cobs forming on any of them.

Conclusion:

This was such a terrible year for our corn!! Even the year before, with the drought we had, and the tiny, tiny plants growing in nitrogen depleted soil, we managed to have more edible cobs that were so sweet, I could eat them raw. I guess corn can handle drought better than flooding!

After this year, my daughters and I discussed skipping corn for a year or two, until we can provide better growing conditions for them. I did, however, end up buying one variety of sweet corn for 2023, plus I got the same variety of popcorn again. I intend to plant them in the two beds next to where the kulli corn was planted. Considering how well the kulli corn grew, even without forming cobs, I think the other corn should do very well in these beds, and I really love corn!

As for the kulli corn, I really, really want to grow them, but I think it will have to wait until we can create better growing conditions. We’re wanting to have a polytunnel, or something along those lines. That might be enough to make the difference. It may be a few years before we have a polytunnel, though.

The Re-Farmer

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