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Gardening Articles: Edibles :: Vegetables

Corn Growing: Getting Started (page 3 of 3)

by National Gardening Association Editors

Broadcast or Sprinkler Method

You can apply fertilizer at planting time by "broadcasting" or sprinkling it evenly over a patch of soil, or by "banding" the fertilizer in the row where your seeds will be planted. Broadcasting makes sense if you want to fertilize a large area in a short time; you just sprinkle it on and work it into the top three to four inches of soil. Broadcasting also guarantees that fertilizer is available to every seed, although in smaller amounts than if you applied it in a band.

If you broadcast fertilizer, use 4 to 5 pounds per 100- square-feet of soil, or a 12-quart pail per 1,000-square- feet. Use about four times as much if you're broadcasting bulky organic matter.

Even though broadcasting fertilizer works well, banding it makes the most efficient use of the plant food. To band, sprinkle one to two cups of balanced commercial fertilizer down every 10 feet of row. Use about four times as much if you're using organic material, which has less concentrated amounts of the three key elements. Cover the fertilizer with an inch or two of soil before planting. Because corn is such an important crop in this country, there have been many studies to determine how to make the best use of fertilizers. As home gardeners, we can benefit from the results of this research.

It's been proved that the best place for fertilizer at planting time is in bands to the side and slightly below the seed. With this placement, the seed can't be burned by the nitrogen in the fertilizer, and the fertilizer is readily available in the soil by the time the taproot starts downward and side roots start to grow.

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