Planting sweet corn in a hay field

Discussion in 'Gardening & Plant Propagation' started by bassmaster17327, Jan 17, 2013.

  1. bassmaster17327

    bassmaster17327 Well-Known Member

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    This season I will be renting an additional 20x60 garden spot next to the one I had last year, the new spot was part of a hay field last year. What is the best way to control weeds in the new spot? Last year someone had the same spot and I tilled it for them early in the spring, they planted their corn and the weeds/hay just choked out the corn. I don't want that happenning to me.

    How much seed will I need for a 20x60 spot? Does anyone have a recomendation on a heirloom sweet corn to plant?
     
  2. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm This Space For Rent Supporter

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    1/4 lb will plant a 100 ft row
    Heavy mulch will help control weeds
     

  3. Johnny Dolittle

    Johnny Dolittle Outstanding in my field

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    Why heirloom variety ? Modern hybrids will be so much sweeter.

    Mulch or cultivate for weeds. Plot is too small to consider spraying.
     
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  4. imthedude

    imthedude Well-Known Member

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    only heirloom corn i have experience is country gentleman. grew it a couple of years ago. had great flavor IMO and decent yields. i had it next to some sweet burpee hybridized variety, and honestly the heirloom was better.

    and to johnny, some people, me included, like heirlooms. plain and simple. i don't want to deal with any GMO hybridized BS that i don't really know what kind of effect it has on my body long-term. i would rather my boys eat something that my grandfather ate, not something created in a lab.
     
  5. Johnny Dolittle

    Johnny Dolittle Outstanding in my field

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    Hybrids are not created in a lab..... Plant two open pollinated varieties side by side then de-tassel one variety so that it gets pollinated by the other variety.... harvest and plant the next year .... you will be planting a hybrid.

    Hybrid is not equal to GMO.

    I did not recommend any GMO sweet corn. There are only a few GMO varieties available and they are hybrids .... But there are hundreds of non GMO hybrids available.... and they are sweeter than the OP varieties.

    Grow what you like ....
     
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  6. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Since you already have observed the takeover by the weeds, with that small of a corn plot, the best way you can control the weeds is to get a very sharp hoe and keep them out. The rows should be planted about 30 inches apart with plants spaced at about eight to twelve inches, so hoeing should be no problem, and you can supplement that with a rototiller in the row middles, if you don't get too close to the spreading roots......... You can figure the math with that spacing, but I would plant at about at double that in the row spacing and then thin to the final rate. I've always grown hybrids, with seeds for my varieties at about 2500 seeds per lb.

    geo
     
  7. rj_in_MA

    rj_in_MA Well-Known Member

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    From my experience I'd say that planting in an area that was in grass/hay the previous year you're likely to have an issue with wireworms, too (though I'm not sure there's much you can do about that problem).
     
  8. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    You can spray the whole thing with roundup a week or so before you till it up. Or weed it when it's young and mulch as it gets too tall to get in between the rows to till. I had good success suppressing weeds by planting clover between the corn rows. Actually, I planted the clover first and then planted the corn in the clover. It didn't LOOK all nice and neat and perfect. Some of the clover grew better in some spots than others. But all in all, I liked what it did and plan on repeating it. However, my plot had been gardened a year previously after having been a pasture.
     
  9. bassmaster17327

    bassmaster17327 Well-Known Member

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    I like the idea of planting clover between the rows, then I could feed the clover to my rabbits. How tall does alfalfa get? Would that work between the rows?

    I actually think what was there before was Johnson grass
     
  10. PrairieBelle22

    PrairieBelle22 Well-Known Member

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    Holy cow. You might need to dynamite to get rid of that stuff. I hate it!

    I am watching the variety recommendations made here. Thanks for posting the question, bass

    Belle
     
  11. sammyd

    sammyd Well-Known Member

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    bringing pasture or or fallow land into crop production can be burdensome.
    You could let the stuff there green up a bit then hit it with glyphosate to kill it off then till it under.
    You could till it under at anytime and fight the weeds mechanically with a hoe and mulching.

    We used an Earthway seeder with the row marker set all the way out for planting corn in previously grassy garden areas. Followed by hoeing till the corn canopied.
    We really enjoyed our Country Gentleman corn but prefer the Bodacious as an all around corn.
     
  12. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anything about johnson grass. However, the corn might shade the alfalfa enough that it wouldn't get very tall. I grew a short clover, not a pasture clover.
     
  13. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    If you do, indeed have Johnsongrass, you may have a problem. Question: did the previous folks do much hoeing or did they just let it go? And did they do any fertilizing at all(corn will require lots of nitrogen) Johnsongrass is a perennial that propagates by both seeds and underground rhyzomes, so it is tough to beat if it has already spread over an area. Probably the way to beat it would be to rototill the area very early, then see what sprouts, then use Roundup to burn it down, then try to open furrows for the corn seeds without any further rototilling(sort of like no-till). Then apply the hoe as needed. After the sweet corn crop is taken off, immediately take off the stalks for compost making, then wait awhile and hit the area again with RU or rototill again to expose the rhyzomes for raking and drying. This would be a way to get a head start on it with at least minimum chemicals.... (You could put a very heavy mulch on the area, if you have that much, but you can expect those tough rhyzomes to come through it and go to seed.....) I would plant a green manure crop for the next season and see what you get next spring.

    This is sort of a modified way the recommendation goes to deal with Johnsongrass--multiple strategies. http://extension.missouri.edu/p/g4872
    The idea is to cut off any new stalks from the seeds and popup rhyzomes, and put continued pressure on those underground by starving out their above ground support system.

    Putting clover or alfalfa in the row middles might be a possibility in later seasons, but you will need to get the Ph level up there for their germination.....and it takes lime a good season to dissolve and do that.

    geo
     
  14. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    The only thing which should be between corn rows is bare soil. The bulk of the roots are shallow, within the first foot of soil, and do not compete well with anything else having shallow root systems.

    Martin
     
  15. geo in mi

    geo in mi Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I agree somewhat, but the Rodale people have tried some intercropping, I believe--and I think the results are mixed. Also, years ago, Louis Bromfield experimented with cutting strips in Ladino clover with a Seaman rotary tiller(pretty newfangled at that time, it cut about an 8 inch swath), also with mixed success---he did it without irrigation, so the results seemed to go according to growth height, density of the corn, and the moisture---actually it was a competition for water as to which one won out---and he abandoned the idea.

    I have intercropped with mixed success, too, but usually sowed the clover at "layby" time, then irrigated it--then rotated corn to another location for the next year. Essentially, the clover was just a soil builder after the fact, not a weed suppressor.

    geo
     
  16. Paquebot

    Paquebot Well-Known Member

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    And that's the best idea yet!

    Martin
     
  17. oneokie

    oneokie Well-Known Member

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    Fence the area and put pigs on it.