Lessons learned growing sweet corn

Like most people, I love the taste of fresh sweet corn. My parents used to get fresh batches of Peaches & Cream each summer, and there was nothing better than having some steak and biting into a freshly picked ear of corn! Hoping that I could re-produce that experience at home, I decided to dedicate part of my 8′ x 8′ raised bed to sweet corn. While some of the corn is coming up and producing ears:

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I didn’t get nearly the production I would have liked. 🙁 There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. I didn’t plant the corn kernels deep enough so their support structure wasn’t able to develop. The first big storm made me aware of this requirement.

2. The squirrels have been climbing the remaining ears and feasting on my treats.

While I haven’t seen the production I would have liked, there are a few positives. The sweet corn fertilizer I side dressed my plants with seems to be working well. My stalks are strong (just not rooted deeply) and the ears are developing nicely. I also haven’t had to water the bed since it’s got a wood core full of rotting wood.

Next year I plan to push my kernels down a good inch or two into the soil to allow the roots and support infrastructure to take hold. I will also make sure to keep applying cayenne pepper, coffee grounds and blood meal around the base of my plants after each rain to keep the squirrels away. I’m also hoping to experiment with shake away fox urine over the next few weeks. If it works, then I’ll make sure to add this to the list of non-lethal squirrel deterrents I put out after each rain. Hope I actually get to enjoy some corn this year!