The Q&A Archives: Planting

Question: When planting sweet corn, how many kernels do you place in each hole? Please give more info on caring and protecting against bugs and rodents!! Steve Badolato West Babylon, NY

Answer: Generally, corn is planted in blocks of rows, with the seeds planted about 1" deep and 4"-6" apart. Later plants should be thinned to 12" apart so they don't compete too much for resources (light, water, nutrients). You should plant several shorter rows rather than a couple of long rows, as the wind carries pollen from the top tassels down to the silks. Block planting ensures that pollen reaches its destination and doesn't just float away. The foundation for protecting plants from insect attack is to make sure plants are healthy. A soil test will tell you what elements your soil is lacking so you can fertilize properly. Your agricultural extension office can help you with a soil test (ph#516/727-7850). It's best to rotate crops through your garden, growing different crops in different areas each year, as pests and diseases particular to crops can build up in the soil over time. Check soil moisture if you've had a week without rain. Dig in a few inches, and if the soil is dry more than an inch down, water the plants deeply. Mulch helps retain soil moisture, too. Finally, visit your garden frequently to see if there is any sign of insects (holes in leaves, husks, visible insects on silks or tassels, etc.), and look up the insect (it may be a friend rather than a pest!) to determine what kind of action to take. We can help you with that, too. Please write back and let me know what kind of rodents you expect to attack your corn. Have you heard of rodent problems from nearby gardeners, or have you seen critters around your garden? With more specific info, I can be more helpful. I look forward to your response. Hope this helps!

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