I probably would have tried growing corn in pots even if most authorities hadn't said that it's a waste of time. However, their challenge made it imperative for me to try, and so far so good. True, the stalks are shorter than I would like and, true, I haven't yet harvested my crop, but it does look like there's going to be a crop. This is better than I did last year. It's even better than with some corn I tried growing just a few weeks before this batch. Well, we'll know in a few weeks because I will be posting a picture of the results. Hopefully, it will be a picture of decent sized ears of corn.
Some technical matters: variety-Mirai, number of pots- ten 5-gallon and one 15-gallon, growing medium- 1/3 garden soil, 1/3 vermiculite, 1/3 peat moss, location- coastal San Diego
snorklepop They look good too.
I did do some decorative corn (japonica) as decoration one year and ended up with about 10 small colored ears of corn and used the foliage as decoration and the tall thing in the container. My only comment is that getting the roots out of the soil at the end of the season was brutal. It would have been better to compost the entire soil and root ball but I tried to save some. If I had a big enough pot I would do it again it looked very cool.
The pollination aspect followed the successful growing of the corn (The pots weren't bunched together until fairly recently). I have had trouble with corn pollination in the past, and I had gone so far as to download instructions for hand pollinating. That was my plan. However, as I was planning to get ready for the hand pollination, something that I would find bothersome, it occurred to me that if I just moved the pots close together, I could let nature take its course. So, by accident and through laziness, I found another advantage of pots: you can grow the plants far enough apart to get the maximum sun exposure, but when it comes time for pollinating, you just move them together. What could be simpler? Next, well, I now have a twenty-foot double row of Sunflowers, but they didn't reach the height I expected of them, even though they look good. So, next year I'm also going to raise some in pots. For me, gardening is much more than harvesting crops; in fact, that's a minor part. I just like to struggle with the problems, and I like to see what will happen. Another thing I like is being surprised, (How come I didn't notice that before?). It could be a plant covered with Aphids or it could be some eggplants I hadn't noticed before. It could also seeing for the first time what a plant looks like in its different stages of life. An example of that is a beautiful and graceful plant that is now growing in one of my tubs. What is it? a carrot. Yes, I discovered that if you just let a carrot go, it can result in a very attractive plant. Mine is almost five feet tall, and it looks as if it's going to be with me for many more weeks.
One more thing: I've now decided that I will no longer use pots more than five gallons in size. Many of the articles on pot gardening recommend fifteen and twenty-gallon pots for various types of plants. Well, maybe they're right, but I'll never know, because such large pots just cost too much to fill. So, if I can't grow a plant in a five-gallon pot, I just won't grow it. Incidentally, I do notice that the corn I am growing in a fifteen-gallon is no bigger or healthier than the corn in the five-gallon pots. However, in the interest of science, next year I may grow some crops in pots of different sizes just to see how much difference it makes. I guess I'm contradicting myself, but nobody's perfect.
It is possible to grow corn in plastic bags, 5-gallon ones, at that. The proof was on my dinner table last night. Delicious. Here's a picture of the first two ears. Next year I'm going to try varieties that produce several ears on one stalk. I haven't yet been able to find a source for "Hastings Prolific," but I'll keep looking. "Six Shooter" is another one.
I finally found "Hastings Prolific" and I've ordered some. It's a corn that is said to bear 14 to 18 ears on each stalk. I had given up on the search when I finally found the Seed Savers Exchange website. There I found the seeds I wanted, and there I found the "catalog of catalogs" I have been looking for. As to Hastings Prolific, if you're interested, it cost $5.00, and the man I talked to said that their orders for such items usually were filled with 400 or so seeds. I'll be posting my results with "Six Shooter" and "Hastings Prolific". It's a little late in the season, but this is San Diego, so I'll probably be planting some as soon as I get it and the remainder next year.
Back to the Drawing Board. I don't know what happened. All the the corn was grown under identical conditions (fertilizer, watering, sunlight, size of pots-except for one, all harvested in same three day period). The pots were very close together, so the pollination should have been no problem. Nevertheless, something went wrong. The first two ears were what they should gave been. The ears were fully developed and of reasonable size. The third one was about the same, except that the kernels were much larger. The fourth one was smaller and not fully developed (not all kernels developed). The rest of the corn? See for yourself. A miserable failure. What could have caused this? Any ideas?
Back to the drawing board...but, I'm glad to know you can do this in those grow bags. The "Hastings Prolific" sounds like what I should attempt. If the yield is that many ears per plant, I only need to grow two-three stalks!
It seems to me that your corn was not pollinated that is why you have only a few big ones, the other kernels didn't receive the dust.
When I had corn in pots I did the pollination by hand by taking a bit of the "top of the stalk" and brushing it on all of the silks on the baby cobs. I did quite well so maybe that is all you have to do. Anyone else have a comment?
I think you may be right. I had thought that by clustering my pots so closely together, there would be no problem. However, there were only 11 pots. Maybe that wasn't enough. Anyway, I have already ordered more corn, and I'm going to plant it as soon as it arrives. My plant calendar for San Diego says that I can plant corn from April through August, so I'll just make it. I might add that I will be using your pollination method, although the information I had downloaded is much more complicated, so much so that I decided not to bother. Well, now that I see the results of "short-cutting," I'll follow their instructions. Another thing I'm going to do this time is to keep records. I THOUGHT I had treated all of the pots the same, but maybe... This time I'll know.
I'm surprised at the number of Canadians on this site. Obviously I was wrong. I hadn't thought that the climate in Canada permitted much gardening. I guess you have to know what you're doing up there to be successful. I wouldn't think the climate is very forgiving of horticultural errors. I have a much wider window of opportunity down here. I can try, fail, and try again..and again, all in the same season.
Snorkelpop you would be amazed at what we can grow. We may not have high heat but in June the sun goes down late at night and we have some sun till 10.30 pm and it's back starting by 4:30 am so we do get a growing season. There are some plants that actually thrive here, like alpines and Hosta's, we have super results with bulbs like Tulips and Allium's. Tomatoes and most veggies are also happy when the sun is out so long. We do have to wait to plant out, usually the Long weekend in May is the " GO" button and now things are slowing down. Corn does well and I will see if I can take a photo of a neighbors corn for you. I'm sure it's 8 ' tall and blooming like crazy and it was started by seed in the ground.
Anyway there are days where I am very Zone Envious of you folks in the lower, read that warmer, parts.
Look forward to hearing of your success's.
Now that you mention it, I do recall reading that northern climes have an advantage when it comes to growing record-size vegetables because of the extra hours of sunlight. I've never gone so far as to test that idea by growing plants under artificial light, but I've thought of it. By the way, the height of corn is important to me, too. I can well remember the unspoken contest between my family and others on the street to grow the tallest corn. I remember one year my Father got some field corn from Oklahoma that he was sure would make us winners, but it was not to be. The neighbor across and down the street grew a patch in an area that had been a horse corral, and his corn made us hang our heads in shame. If you're interested, you might look up the records. It seems to me that the tallest corn ever recorded was 30' in height. [Yes, I find that hard to believe, too. I wonder if it had ears. That should be a requirement]. Incidentally, the Hastings Prolific corn that I've purchased is not for the table. It's of the dent type, which I believe is intended for flour making. I'm just buying it because I'm curious. If it does produce over a dozen ears, will they be of the size that you see in Chinese restaurants? If so, that doesn't count for me. On the other hand, how could a normal stalk hold a dozen or so normal sized ears? Well, we'll soon see. This constant experimentation and dealing with failures is a large part of the pleasure I get from gardening. I think I saw some crook neck squash plants at Home Depot the other day. If they're still there, I'm going to buy some to see if I can do better than I've done with the ones I planted some time ago. They're miserable failures.
Snorkelpop, yes gardening is an adventure and I too enjoy testing things out. There are some advantages to living where we have cold weather for 1/3 of the year!
I'm not sure about the mini corns but I would think the whole plant will be mini. I'll have to check it out.
Lots of Cow feed corn down your way I think. We tend to have a lot of other grain to use as feed.
Oh, yes we can garden here!
The things we grow might be different, and some things which do not grow well down in warmer climates--will do well here.
This weekend I am planting daffodils for next spring flowers.
In vegetables we need to plant the ones with shorter growing times.
Any plants which need chilling do well here---peonies do well.