Sunday, October 18, 2009

Corn in grow box - removing sucker stems

Healthy corn stalks will often produce sucker stems from the soil-line. There are several things to consider in deciding to take the sucker stems off. Can the plant support 2 or 3 stems and bring them all to maturity, with fruit? Is there ample light for more stems? Will there be sufficient room for the pollen to get from the tassels to the silk on every stem?

When we plant every 8" in the row, with two rows only 10-12" apart, most varieties of corn will do best and produce the most if there is only one stalk per plant. We are already planting closer than the traditional methods. Of course the corn grows out into the aisles, in order to get space, light, etc. Our close planting is to make watering, weeding, and feeding most efficient. For these reasons, I do not recommend you leave the sucker stems on the plant. However, be sure your main stem is completely healthy, and is not broken or badly bruised, before you take off the surrounding sucker stems. It would be better to have a slightly smaller sucker stem become the main stem, than to have a stem that is damaged, which will be subject to pests, disease, and weather damage later on.

Don't worry about what other people say about how much you are fertilizing. Unless they have over 50 years' experience in 27 countries, with 75 major gardening projects under their belts, they don't know as much about it as our leader and teacher. Let your harvest speak for itself.

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