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Corn in the Potatoes

Do you think I could get away with planting corn between the potato rows, or would there be too much shade for the potatoes? Just a thought, trying to figure out how to get some corn in there somewhere.

My only other choice is where there is shade part of the day.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything that blooms and grows, the garden angel scatters and sows...in the land of corn and pigs...Iowa Zone 4-5

good question, I have the same dalema.
 
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After much deliberation, I went for the part-shade area. It's afternoon sun so should be OK. I think I'll put some buttercup squash in the potato patch.

Dirt-if you do corn in your taters let me know how it worked out.
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything that blooms and grows, the garden angel scatters and sows...in the land of corn and pigs...Iowa Zone 4-5

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You may find 2 real problems. First, the potatoes are going to be ready to harvest before the corn is done growing. I get 2 potato crops a year here in Maryland. and there is no way you can harvest the potatoes in late June/early July without killing the corn.

Second, corn and potatoes like different soil. Corn grows well in broken rich soil that holds moisture, and potatoes want loose sandier soil that drains well.

Suggestions: Try your potatoes in plastic bins so you can give them the drainage they want and to make harvesting very easy (you just turn out the bins and pick through the soil). Grow your corn in blocks of one per square foot (at least 4x4). You can plant squash among them instead of potatoes. Squash and corn do well in the same kind of soil.
 
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Also, unless you plant the potatoes REAL deep, you'll have a problem with potatoes growing around nice, deep corn roots. The roots have to go kind of deep to hold those big stalks up in the wind. I know they're deep because I've pulled out many a stalk, and it took *some* pulling! Landed on my butt on a few pulls.

And considering how potatoes spread underground, do you really want to dig that deep to find all your spuds?

I think I have read of growing string beans with corn--the string beans just grow right up the stalks. Anyone want to yay or nay me on this?
 
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I have read that corn and sunflowers and beans are all good companions with potatoes. Beans help repel tater pests.

I'm currently trying an experiment with growing potatoes in a no-till bed of compost, bone meal, a little sulfur, and lots of thick leaves-hay mulch on top of the ground. (I did dig about 6" holes for each potato)

Since potatoes are light feeders that don't need extra nitrogen, but love lots of phosphorus and potassium for lots of potato fruiting, I think the corn and sunflowers work great to suck up the extra nitrogen.

Also since potatoes are cool season crops, the extra shading from the corn or sunflowers is an extra plus.

I feed my potatoes nothing but diluted plain compost tea or seaweed tea for extra potassium and micronutrients. Not too much nitrogen.

I feed the corn and sunflowers nothing but strong high nitrogen teas.
 
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I did think of the digging problem, but I usually don't dig taters til Aug/Sept. By then the corn would be done. I ended up planting the corn in a block about 5X20, partial shade. It's really tough deciding which is more important, corn or potatoes!!!
 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Everything that blooms and grows, the garden angel scatters and sows...in the land of corn and pigs...Iowa Zone 4-5

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If the rows of corn and potatoes were spread far enough apart, I don't see why this wouldn't work great! I've done companion planting for a while now, and space is the only issue I've ever really come across. When planting, try to imagine the plant fully grown. Good luck and let us know what you decide and how it goes!

BG Smiler
 
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Sounds like you want Taters and squash and corn...have you considered the Three Sisters companiong planting? It's the traditional American Indian trio some tribes food was based on: corn, squash, and beans (legumes).

The corn would grow, providing shade for the squash, which enjoy a bit of shade now and then, and a framework for the beas/beans to grow up. The legume crop would set nitrogen into the soil for the squash, and the squash would spread out and 'mulch' the soil. It worked for my Mom.

Then again...just be glad you can grow corn. I'm stuck with a tiny patio, and am green with envy! Good luck!
 
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aris:
You can grow corn in large, rectangular planter and/or 5 gallon buckets. It does work quite well as long as you position them up against the house or a fence so they won't blow over when they get real tall. Nothing ventured nothing gained! ;-)
 
Give three fold what you take.
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That's an awful lot of buckets, considering how many corn plants you need to plant in order to get decent pollination amongst each other. Everything I've read about growing corn says you need to grow at least three rows to get good pollination. I'm assuming that means more than one plant a row.

How do you work it?
 
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Unless you had a very steady wind and grew the row in that direction, I don't think a long single row will result in very full ears. I plant mine 4x4 and even then I cut a few tassels and wipe the silks thoroughly with them to assure good pollination.

I've also tried placing trash bags over the top of the plants and tapping the stalks to get the pollen to drop down onto the silks, but I think most of it sticks to the bags.

If you happen to have a dead-calm evening at the proper time, just tap each of the stalks and they will drop lots of pollen onto the surrounding several plants. I've even used a 12 inch square piece of cardboard to help fan the falling pollen among the silks a bit.

Hey, it only takes a couple of minutes once every few days for a couple of weeks. I'll do that much to get my own fresh corn. LOL!
 
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Exactly. That's 16 stalks--and per Charlie's way, 16 5-gallon buckets, and having gorwn vegies in containers when i lived in an apartment and only had a balcony, I'm thinking that's a lot more trouble than it's worth.

But maybe some people are more patient than I am...

Theresa
 
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The pollenation thing never was a problem. Guess I was just lucky. I know a few other people who lived in apartments and rentals that did the same thing and had good production. The cutting the tassel and wiping it on the others is a good idea, though, just to make sure. Maybe I just planted them so close together in they didn't have any choice but to share pollen:^o. I'm terrible for packing things tighter than recommended.
Charlen
 
Give three fold what you take.
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My first attempts at growing potatoes were all failures. Then one day I heard of a different way to plant them... 1) tilled an area 20ft X 4ft, added some good fresh horse or cow manure and tilled that in, let it set for about two weeks. 2) after watering the bed real good, I planted the potatoes right on the top of the ground, covered them with about 10 inches of mulched leaves, hay, or other organic material. watered that and let it be.. when harvest time came, I had some beautiful potatoes..

BaldEagle
 
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The squarefoot gardening guy says you can plant corn in small spaces using the highrise method. Check out the website http://squarefootgardening.com/html/body_deck.html
 
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From the Squarefoot Gardening Website.

Q: Hi Mel, my name is Mary and I live in New Jersey. I think your book is just wonderful and insightful. I heard you changed your view on the spacing of corn. Although I searched your website, I saw no new information on it. Do you recommend planting corn closer than one per square foot? Mary

Depends on the Size of the Plant

A: Dear Mary: Several people have asked that question and it has to do with the newer varieties that have been developed by the seed companies since the book was written so I'm going to include a couple of paragraphs that we've written to others that would clear up the difference and give you an option depending on what variety of corn you plan to grow.

When the book was first written, the only varieties of corn were very tall, large, and bushy plants and we spaced them in a block, 12 inches apart and that meant one per square foot. Since then, they have started developing many smaller varieties of corn, still with large ears so that today, most of the varieties offered the home gardener, can be spaced six inches apart or four per square foot.

Recently, at our international training center in Homestead, Florida, I saw a field of tomatoes on one side of us and a field of corn on the other. The corn was some miniature variety where the stalk only grew to about three feet tall and they weren't bushy at all. Yet, they still produced a fairly large ear on each stalk. Even so, traditionally, the farmer planted them in rows three feet apart and I guess that is because "that's the way he has always done it." I haven't been able to find out what varieties they were, but if they are offered to the public, they will be in any of the seed catalogs. Best wishes, Mel
 
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