Sunday, April 19, 2009

Corn, Champion Sprinter

On April 16th I planted my corn in soil blocks. I placed them on the heating mat. I was hoping that in about four to seven days they would sprout for me. The weather at the end of the week is going to get pretty warm. It would be perfect timing.

Did you know that if you give corn good conditions that it comes up faster than cole crops do? They are speedy germinaters coming in at three days. My corn germinated in two. Two days? Arrrrgggg!

I came home from working the store yesterday. I was tired. My husband said Nat had called and wanted to play a game (my friends often play European board games - much better than an American parlor game). I said I wasn't interested. I was tired. I just wanted to put my feet up for a while. But first I had to check my seedlings. The corn was up. Gack. Not only was it up, but it was up with 100% germination. No rest for the weary. The seedlings had to go out immediately. Some of the roots were already sticking out of the bottom. Corn does not like root disturbance, and to keep it anchored in the wind I needs those roots to go down deep into the soil.

Leftover seedlings from yesterday, note the root stick out at the bottom.

I grabbed the biggest 28 seedlings and ran outside to plant - in the rain. It wasn't raining hard, but it had started. I had already measured out my hills on three foot centers with sticks. I didn't actually hill up anything, in fact I sunk the seedlings in a bit. They will get hilled up as they grow. This will anchor them even more.

My favorite measuring tool is my hand. When I stretch my hand the distance between the tip of my index finger and the tip of my thumb is 6" (15cm). I used this to place four seedlings each 6" from the marking stick. If you do the math (remember the Pythagorean Theorem?), that would make them 8.4" apart. In reality they are about 9" since the stick has width. The rest of the post will be nerd free. I promise.

I wanted them to germinate later, once our cold snap was over. There were some dire predictions a few days ago of frosty nights and forties during the day for today and tomorrow. Well the corn was early and the predictions have changed. It is still a little chilly, but will probably break into the 50s both days. And the nights? Nope. No more frost predicted. I'll still protect my plants however. You just can't trust a prediction anymore than you can trust your corn to wait four days to sprout.


  1. I like your methods, Daphne! You are really getting the best from the soil blocks. I haven't even had time to make some block, I get so busy! I need to make some because they really do make giving them away much easier. The corn looks like it's going to take right off like everything else does sown in the soil blocks!

  2. Daphne, I know you don't want to hear this, but corn is an alien bent on world domination. Be afraid. Be very afraid!

  3. Tessa, I've gotten so much faster at block making. I can whip them out fairly quickly now and they all hold together quite well. When I first started I had to remake every block three times. I'm really starting to like them. They transplant so fast and easily.

    our friend Ben, too late! Since our body (US population) carbon is mostly from corn, we now are the alien. I have the impression I still think for myself but here I am growing corn. Maybe it is mind control.

  4. I am about ready to get our corn started, I think I like your method very much.I will have to give it a try.

  5. Hi Daphne, I chitted my sweetcorn seeds this year and they are amazing and growing like crazy. Everything you have posted pics of look so healthy and delicious. As usual I have gone and sown far too many seeds and variety of veg. I want to try everything, I can't wait for my slow growing Lemongrass to get bigger, it looks so interesting.