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Rockview Garden

Dear Jane,

After reading the article on the van Bueren corn crop, I thought you would like to hear our experience this year.  We live about 5 miles up-valley from Winthrop (north side of the valley above the Big Valley Ranch, with good southern exposure). 

We use a soil thermometer and usually wait for the soil to warm up to 60 degrees before planting our corn. (In past years, we have tried planting before that point, but we would lose over 50% of the seed.)   Needless to say, this year the ground was still not at 60 degrees on June 30!  However, we had plans to leave on a 10 day vacation the 3rd of July, so it was now-or-never.  We planted all of our seed corn on July 1st hoping for the best, but not having very high expectations.

Here is a picture of our garden was taken 9/12/10 from the hill behind it looking south/southwest.  Corn is in the right foreground, with raspberries to the left.  You can see the earlier corn is smaller on the left of the corn patch.

Our ground was heavily prep’d with aged manure, compost, and an organic fertilizer.  Seed was planted in 20 foot N/S rows, 30 inches apart, with 6 inches between seeds planted about one inch deep.  This year we planted 4 rows of “Sugar Buns” (70-80 days) and 6 row of “Bodacious” (80-90 days) – both are Hybrid SE varieties.  We watered deeply before we left the valley on July 3rd and every 4/5 days between July 15 and 30th.  We thinned the corn to 12 inch spacing in mid-July.  On July 30th the corn was 12 to 15 inches high and we “hilled up” (covering the plants almost to the top) and in the process, creating ditches in every other row.  From then on, we flooded the ditches weekly,   No additional fertilizer was used and/or needed.  In August and early September you could literally see the corn growing daily!  We started harvesting around September 10th (70 days exactly) and have harvested over 100 ears to date and will be harvesting at least another 50-75 ears this week.  Our corn is well over 7 feet tall!  We have been thrilled with the results this year, considering the overall cool summer we have had.

We have never tried starting corn in the greenhouse, but might give that a try next year.

Our greenhouse is usually pretty full with tomatoes, peppers, and melons!

Donna & Wayne Bonn
Oct 1, 2011