planting corn

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by .netDude, Apr 15, 2005.

  1. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to plant 1-2 acres of corn in an old pasture for winter feeding. I have a compact 4 whl drive tractor with a 3pt hitch rototiller. The pasture has a lot of scrub, hasn't been hay'ed or grazed in probably 5 -8 yrs. Will the rototiller prepare the ground enough to plant? Would it go deep enought and would I need to drag or harrow it?

    Thanks -Greg
     
  2. big rockpile

    big rockpile If I need a Shelter

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    I think I would get someone to Deep Plow it.

    big rockpile
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Corn does very well in no till situations so your tiller will be fine. It is not tolerant of wet soil (or drought just to be complicated) so if the soil is a clay type you may want to subsoil the ground first. Corn is also not great with competition, so either heavily mulch, plastic strip or spray control the weeds. Its a big fast growing plant too so it needs good fertility, you should soil test and add fertilizer as needed.
     
  4. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    What does that mean?

    If I need to fertilize, will it be effective this year? Would I be wasting my time if I plant this year, or should I fertilize this year and plant next?
     
  5. AnnaS

    AnnaS Well-Known Member

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    If you're using a commerical liquid fertilizer or well rotted manure, it will work right away. The problem you will run into if you're plowing/tilling sod is a lot of the nitrogen the corn needs will be tied up in the bacteria that break down the dead sod. I'd get a soil test to see where the soil is now and talk to your county agent about what you have now and how much fertilizer to use to compensate.

    I was growing on tilled sod last year and planted a bunch of small plots of different feed crops just to see how they did. Peas & oats grow together for hay did best. The peas add nitrogen and the oats don't need much so you have a net gain in soil fertility and a winter feed crop.

    Most of the corn was 2 feet tall. Even the Painted Mountain which is supposed to do well in poor soil, looked awful. I didn't fertilize though, wanted to see how things would do in the native soil without input.
     
  6. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

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    if it were my ground i would first disc it two or three times to cut up the sod so the long grass did not wrap on the tiller tines. then spread manure and till .after tilling i would sub soil like ross said. then plant or wait a week and spray for grasses.
     
  7. whiterock

    whiterock Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Subsoiling is a very deep plowing to break up the hardpan that forms under the soil surface after years of compaction. It will also pull up big roots.
    Ed
     
  8. rambler

    rambler Well-Known Member Supporter

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    While all are good ideas for various conditions, the tiller will do you fine for a little hobby test plot. Actually a tiller will make the soil too loose, a plow & disk would make a better seedbed for corn, but if the tiller can get through the trash, have fun.

    If you live in an area that needs lime (low soil PH) then you need to correct that problem, & lime takes 6 months to 18 moths to really kick in. You can get pellitized lime for more $$$ and it acts quicker, but does not last as long. If you need lime, till it in as soon as possible.

    All other fertlizers only need to be placed at or before planting, you would lose some - esp N - if you added them a year early. Total waste.

    Corn needs to be 1.5 - 2 inches deep. So, tilling 2-3" should work out ok. Of late I like a bumpier, lumpier feid to plant into. This will depend on your planter of course. Don't have to harrow or drag it.

    However, how will you control weeds. Corn starts slow, comes on strong later. Weeds come on fast & totally drown out the corn.

    Harrow the corn just as it pushes through the ground - kills tiny weeds. Spray. Or cutivate often - if you see the weeds, you waited too long.....

    --->Paul

     
  9. bethlaf

    bethlaf Homegrown Family

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    first ground , virgin soil is a generally good producer

    yes corn will suffer from competition , but since youre planting forage, its ok , the only thing i would do different is plant pumpkins between the rows of corn ,
     
  10. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the responses.

    How do you harvest / store the peas and oats? When do you plant them?