The Q&A Archives: Poor Corn

Question: We have a small vegetable garden (6 ft by 30 ft)in which we grow tomatoes, eggplant, onions, cucumbers,
lettuce, beans, and corn. However, each year the corn matures to only one-half to two-thirds normal size. We rototill the garden and add fertilizer (5-10-5) and last year even added compost manure. Our planting area consists of 3 rows with approximately 4 plants in each row.

Answer: Unfortunately, insufficient pollination causes partially filled ears and this is a common problem in small plantings. Although four rows are said to be better than three, with only a dozen plants this will probably be an ongoing problem. Additional causes for poor kernels include dry weather during silking stages, planting too close, and
poor fertility. The best way to check your soil fertility is to run some basic tests and then add any needed amendments as indicated by the test results. Your County Extension (725-3233) should be able to help you with the tests and with interpreting the results.

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