Blog Vegetable Garden weeding

How To Plant Corn Weed Free (Really!)

Assume weeding has to occur should you grow corn? There are some simple steps you possibly can take to plant corn weed free and easily in a low maintenance mattress that critically gained’t want hardly any weeding all season lengthy – actually. It’s time to eliminate that hoe!

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I’ve heard from so many people concerning the back-breaking weeding they’ve either had to do rising up, or in their very own gardens that I’ve made it my objective on AOC to point out which you could grow vegetables with out a number of weeding (you’ll be able to see extra on straightforward care gardening right here, together with my key no-till gardening technique).

In our ranch-turned-cottage I grew corn, beans, and potatoes in large-ish permanent beds that measured about 10′ x 20′ with simply 4-inch sides. They have been principally giant raised beds or small backyard plots, nevertheless you need to take a look at them. Despite the fact that they have been too huge to not be walked on (one of the objectives with raised beds so you don’t compact the soil), I created them with the purpose of rising larger crops that take up extra room, like corn, beans, and squashes however with permanent edges to have the ability to use no-till and weed-free strategies.

To me, it was like one of the best of each worlds they usually really did end up working that method. Every thing I grew in these 4 beds produced a ton and flourished. And I didn’t should cope with hoeing, tilling, or hardly any weeds.

You possibly can see these beds in most of the gardening articles you’ll find on the location (like why to develop cucumbers on a trellis, organic vegetable gardening 101, and why I really like Emerite pole beans to name just some), but I felt there was a necessity for an devoted tutorial specifically on learn how to plant corn to be weed-free all season because that seems to be the crop I hear about probably the most with regard to weeds.

There aren’t many things worse for a gardener than trying to find sprouting corn in a sea of weeds – and then making an attempt to free the poor issues from them, right?

Do you assume I’m stretching the truth once I say that you simply CAN plant corn weed free from the start all the best way to harvest? Properly I’ve acquired the photographs to prove it! I planned this text over a full season – taking footage of all the steps from prepping and planting all the best way to rising and harvesting, so I might share it with you.

Listed here are the straightforward, non-back-breaking steps I take yearly to plant corn weed free all season lengthy. It’s my hope that it will revolutionize your garden as a lot because it has mine! Replace: I’ve added an FAQ on the finish answering questions I’ve gotten about this including the way to start from scratch.

How To Plant Corn Weed Free

weed-filled vegetable bed

Prepping the Beds

Whereas I am promising little to no weeds in the rising season, the weeds do come back each winter in these beds in order that by March, the beds seem like the photograph above.

Don’t be discouraged! You’ll be able to maintain this easily with out hoeing, tilling or hand-pulling (oh, and this prep technique isn’t just for corn, this is how you proceed for any no-till beds, too).

plastic covered vegetable bed_

Step one to prepping your beds is:

  • Cover the longer term corn mattress with black plastic at the very least two months before corn planting time in your area, securing it with rocks. Don’t give it some thought once more – just let the sun and plastic do it’s work of killing weeds and breaking down leftover particles from the earlier yr. TIP: This video exhibits more about how we got here to appreciate black plastic as an organic approach to kill weeds.

raking dead weeds from corn bed

  • Whenever you raise the plastic months later, you’ll discover a pile of lifeless vegetation that you simply rake up and add to your compost pile.

spreading compost layer on corn bed

  • Then unfold a 1-Three inch layer of compost over the bed, without tilling. The one time I turn the soil are if I discover areas with vole or mole holes – it’s my unhappy try and hinder their motion, ha!

That’s it for prepping – actually! Now you’re able to plant.

Planting corn rows of corn seed

Planting The Corn Seeds

  • Make a furrow with a hoe, shovel, or trowel about Four-5 inches deep – this is the one place you break up the soil, and it’s fairly simple with the hoe (also the only time you’ll use a hoe – typically I simply use the top of a rake or shovel).
  • Add a line of natural fertilizer within the furrow and partially fill the furrow back to about 1-inch deep. In my 10′ broad beds, I plant 4 rows about 2 1/2 ft apart (notice: corn should all the time be planted in teams for pollination, so never any single rows here and there).

Spacing of corn seeds in row

  • Add corn seeds 2-3 inches apart. Seeding pretty thickly like that is my trick to make sure a good corn patch – between corn’s typically spotty germination and the birds, I had some pretty empty rows earlier than I began sowing this manner. You do have some waste when it’s time to skinny, nevertheless it’s value it to me to have the corn beds filled with crops rising on the similar fee.

Planted corn beds with soaker hoses

Set Up The Watering System

  • Lay soaker hoses along each planted row, hook up the hose and water the seeds nicely, often for Three-4 hours if there’s no rain in your forecast.
  • This can be a KEY to the weed-free system: watering with soaker hoses – or some sort of drip system – is the one option to not water between rows AND give a deep watering to the roots. Typical overhead sprinkler watering gets every thing wet, together with the weeds that need to grow, too.

Planting corn with critter protection

  • Elective: When you have birds or cats within the neighborhood, overlaying the beds with hen wire or whatever you might have will assist maintain the beds pest-free. I also used garden row covers to completely cowl the beds till the corn was a number of inches high to keep anything from digging.

sprouting corn in weed free bed

Sprouting & Thinning

Soon you will notice the corn sprout!

  • Typically it might take as much as two weeks, so don’t fear. You possibly can see above that even with my thicker sowing, there are some giant areas between a few of the corn. This is wonderful, as I deliberate for it, but if I had sown the seed on the last spacing I needed, I’d have an excessive amount of area and would’ve needed to re-sow. However meaning the subsequent step is what some individuals find the to be the hardest…

Thinning weed free corn bed

  • Skinny the corn to 12-18 inches aside. Yes, you may be pulling typically pretty corn and throwing it away. In the event you’ve read here long, you realize this pains me, however it’s the one strategy to get full sized stalks with full ears – the one means, trust me. And it’s rather a lot higher than empty spaces. So chew the bullet and just do it.

weed free corn bed in September

Maintaining The Beds

Now all that’s left is to water and watch the corn grow:

  • Water with the soaker hoses for about Four to five hours every Four-7 days deeply to encourage deep root progress (shorter watering every few days leads to shallow roots and stalks that may topple when filled with ears if a wind comes up). If unsure, dig an inch down – if it’s moist, the corn has sufficient water and may await a day or extra to be watered.

Weed free corn row at harvest

  • You may even see a weed here or there that you simply’ll need to tug sometimes, often as you’re hooking up the soaker hose (within the photograph above there’s one within the entrance). On the end of the season the bottom leaves might yellow like mine did after two months of heat, dry climate, but the rest of the stalks are a wholesome green with ears rising full, so don’t fear for those who see some lifeless backside leaves on your crops.

Full grown weed free corn bed


The photograph above is the complete grown corn bed on the finish of the season with most of the ears ready for harvesting. Do you see that soil? Yeah – no weeds. And that was with no hoeing and no tilling. Plenty of corn on the cob with little or no work – what’s to not love about that?

Planting Corn Weed Free FAQ

What sorts of corn do you develop?

I all the time plant two of those beds with three totally different varieties that each one mature 2 weeks aside in order that we don’t have a glut of corn all of sudden. This provides us a few month of harvest so I can simply prep and freeze smaller quantities and never kill myself processing corn. When you’ve got a smaller planting space, I’d simply plant two of those, the earliest and the newest.

After making an attempt a whole lot of totally different varieties, I’ve settled on this combo as the most effective:

We have now by no means grown corn so we might want to start a new bed – can we until after which cover with plastic?

No, you don’t even have to till at first – promise! Once we began the beds pictured, I merely laid cardboard over the pasture grass and layered it with free horse manure after which a layer of unpolluted backyard compost we bought. The full peak was about 4 inches. I left that to accept a pair weeks until it was heat enough for corn after which I planted the corn identical to I outlined right here and with soakers on the rows. And truthfully, it was an experiment – I didn’t assume the corn would do as nicely because the obtainable soil was solely Four inches – I assumed perhaps they’d fall over when grown or be stunted.

But they didn’t!! Corn is a shallow rooted plant, so that wasn’t and difficulty, and over the growing season the cardboard broke down enough that the roots grew deep enough to carry the stalks up. And being heavy feeders, the stalks liked all that manure. We had an incredible harvest even within the first yr and every year after that I exploit the plastic like I outlined – and have by no means had a lot of weeds to cope with!

When you’ve got empty spots in the rows, might you transplant a few of the little seedlings that you simply skinny out into the empty areas?

Sure I’ve executed that many occasions,  you simply need to watch out to do it on overcast days. If it’s sunny in any respect, the transplanted seedlings will just wilt and never really take off.

After the harvest, do you pull up the lifeless crops? In that case, does this deplete quite a little bit of soil in the beds?

I truly don’t pull up the crops until they’re utterly lifeless in late winter, often once I’m ready to cowl the beds with plastic. I do all the time let them turn utterly brown and knock them down, although, someday in late fall. After overlaying after which raking there’s barely any soil, left on the roots.

What if I nonetheless need to use a tiller?

Should you just can’t get on the no-til practice, I might recommend a minimum of utilizing newspaper or cardboard and straw in between the rows so at the least you don’t should spend time weeding the paths. Although I really do hope you’ll learn this for even more information on why it’s one of the best for less maintenance.

So, there you’ve it – there really is a option to develop corn and not have to spend so much of time weeding! Do you grow corn? Do you might have any ideas and methods to share with us that you simply like?

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How to plant a low maintenance weed free corn bed

This text has been up to date – it was originally revealed in June of 2013.

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