EASY WAY TO GROW CORN IN YOUR BACKYARD

Corn (Maize), a preferred food species around the globe, is consumed by almost 900 millions of people only during the period of May to July each year. 60% of calories and protein are obtained only from maize, wheat and rice by more than 1 billions of people. Thus, it can be concluded that sustained corn production would aid significantly to solve the global issue of food security. 

Let’s explore some interesting and knowledgeable facts on this globally preferred  and valued species with higher health benefits.

 

INTRODUCTION

Corn is one of the greatest gift of nature. Apart from best taste it is also packed with lots of essential nutrients. Corn is a commonly preferred cereal grain by masses which is also known as maize. The leafy stalk of the plant produces pollen inflorescences and separate ovuliferous inflorescences. Ovuliferous inflorescence commonly known as ears yield kernels or seeds that are actually fruits of corn (maize).

 

BENEFITS OF CORN

Corn has several proven health benefits along with their heavenly delicious sweet taste. Some of them are: 

  • Corn is rich in fiber, folate, thiamin, phosphorous, vitamin C and magnesium.
  • Having corn reduces the risk of anemia.
  • Corn helps in enhancing energy.
  • Maize is an excellent source of carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin (best for eye health). 
  • Corn helps in lowering the blood sugar level.
  • Corn aids in lowering high cholesterol level.
  • Corn is beneficial for expecting mothers during their pregnancy.
  • It makes your skin healthy.
  • The fiber in corn aids in digestion.

 

TYPES OF CORN

There are six types of basic corns. Each type of corn has distinguishing features and use.

  • Flint corn: This corn is similar to dent corn but has a wide range of colors. Primarily used for decoration during harvest time.

 

  • Dent corn: Field corn that contains hard and soft starches which later become indented when the corn dries is called dent corn.  It is often used as livestock feed, industrial products or to make processed foods. 

 

  • Popcorn: This has a hard exterior shell and a soft center. When heated, it explodes unlike other corns. It is a whole grain rich in fiber. So, best for improving digestion.

 

  • Sweet corn: This corn is all soft and won’t be able to pop. This corn is sweet in taste. This type of corn could be microwaved, baked and barbecued, and used.

 

  • Waxy corn: This is a field corn that has a sticky texture when cooked. Amylopectin present in waxy corn make it useful for both foods and industries (as a thickener or stabilizer). 

 

GROW SWEET CORN IN YOUR BACKYARD

Firstly, you need to soak the corn seeds for a minimum of 8 hours in water. This will help in faster germination.

Then, prepare soil with the use of organic fertilizer. Mix one third of organic fertilizer in normal garden soil.

  • Maintaining optimum temperature, i.e. 60 degree Fahrenheit to 90 degree Fahrenheit; if you are planting indoor and make soil moist but not water-logged. 

  • Then, insert corn seeds 1.5 inch under the surface with spacing of 75 cm between rows and 25 cm between plants.

  • After a week or so, the corn seeds will start to germinate.

  • You need to keep watering the surface every day. But, do not water the plant leaves as it will lead to damage.

  • Basically the corn will be ready for harvesting after 90 days. Reddish brown or brown coloration of corn silk (tip hair like structure) indicates its maturity.

 

NOTE: The place where you are growing the corn should have good sunlight and water.

Enjoy your backyard sweet corn for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It not only tastes good but is packed with good nutrients for your body.

 

SOME CORN DISEASES TO CARE AND LOOK OUT FOR:

Most diseases are caused by fungus and bacteria. Depending upon the area affected, the disease can be generally classified into 3 types:

1. Corn leaf disease

Gray leaf spot is the most common disease caused by fungus. This will appear in early growing seasons where fungus invade and result in spores.

a)Common rust

This is another common disease seen in corn production caused by a plant pathogen. However, this is not a major problem. Common rusts lessens when the weather becomes hot and dry as they generally form in cool seasons.

 

(Source: Sibiya and Sumbwanyambe, 2019).

 

b)Anthracnose

Anthracnose in corn is caused by Colletotrichum graminicola fungus. This creates lesions in corn leaves and has potentiality to cause early and late season leaf blight, stalk rot and die back.

 

 

c)Eye spot:

This is usually seen in winters and is caused by fungus. Early symptoms include small, light green or yellow holes in the leaves. Later they develop into brown/purple rings with age and start destroying larger leaves areas.

 

2. Corn stalk disease

Corn stalk disease also known as “stalk rot disease” is an infection caused by fungus and bacteria both. Usually occurs in earlier season. They affect the roots first and extend towards lower stalk.

 

3. Corn seed and seedling disease

These diseases are soil borne/seed born fungi in corn resulting in rotting of the seeds and seedlings. This is an early disease that can slow the growth and stunt plants. The major cause of this disease is the weather that involves heavy rainfall followed by cool, warm and humid weather.

 

TIPS AND TRICKS TO PROTECT YOUR CORN

  • Choosing good quality corn seeds is the key.
  • Protect those seeds with help of fungicides.
  • Seed treatment is a great protection against early fungal diseases.
  • Give extra care and protection in winters and cool weather.
  • Keep the area free from weeds.
  • Drying seeds before sowing reduces the risk of disease.
  • You can also choose the hybrids and resistant varieties of corn seeds.

 

WAYS TO BOOST THE CORN GROWTH

  • Use of proper fertilizer is a must.
  • Plant the seed to a correct depth (2 inches).
  • Choose the correct time for cultivation (Summer).
  • Rotating with right crops is proven best for soil and plants.
  • Water the corn plants adequately.
  • Avoid and control weeds, ryegrass.

 

COMMERCIAL PRODUCTION OF CORN:

If you want to expand your cultivation and want to produce corn commercially then I will be sharing few tips to you in this section.

  • Corn plants are easier to grow compare to other plants.
  • The best season to grow corn is summer. Temperature ranging from 16 to 18 degree Celsius is best for germination while 30 to 35 degree Celsius is considered as best for overall maturation.
  • Follow above growing methods (techniques) and care for diseases mentioned above.

 

References

  • https://www.cropscience.bayer.us/learning-center/articles/be-alert-for-corn-anthracnose.
  • Sibiya, M., & Sumbwanyambe, M. (2019). A computational procedure for the recognition and classification of maize leaf diseases out of healthy leaves using convolutional neural networks. AgriEngineering1(1), 119-131.
  • https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/cash-in-on-the-health-benefits-of-corn.
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maize.

 

I hope this post has provided you with sufficient information on how to grow maize and how to take care of it. This process will definitely help you to achieve sustainable corn production in your home garden. 

If there are any information that you want to know about and you feel that we should have mention; please feel free to comment below. Your comments are highly appreciated.

We “Learn-Agro” team will be back soon with more interesting and informative post. Till then, Happy reading! Enjoy the post. Cheers!

 

Diva Kc

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