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Corn
Growing Corn is incredibly easy, as long as you plant early types because corn won't really take off until it gets hot for a while.

Anyone can grow corn. It will grow in every state in the country, but to be sure that you'll have the best corn, make sure to get a variety of corn that will mature in the shortest amount of time.

Beginning in March, start them indoors, preferably under flourescent lights, or High Intensity Discharge lights (HIDs) like a mercury vapor lamp (400 watt is best). You can also start them in a sunny window. Use 4 or 6 inch pots to start.

Most seed packets will tell you to plant 2 or 3 seeds to a pot, but don't waste the seed... just plant one seed in each pot. If you have fresh seed, almost all of them wiil grow, and you won't have to kill plants that would otherwise grow to maturity.

There's no need to germinate them in a paper towel, or other method either. Just plant them about an inch deep, and water them well, keeping them nice and moist... corn loves water, but make sure that you have good drainage.

You can plant them as close as 8 - 10 inches apart.

Start your first batch of corn fron seed that is an early variety, and then go to the sweeter varieties as the season progresses. Corn needs long hot days to grow well.

Most resources will tell you that corn does not transplant well. We have never had any difficulties transplanting corn as long as care is taken not to disturb the roots.

Allow the corn to grow indoors until the middle of April, or as soon as danger of frost has passed and then harden them off by placing them outdoors for a few hours each day for about a week to allow them to get used to the intense light of the sun.

If you put any plants outdoors without hardening them off, their leaves will turn slightly white, which is actually sunburn. Depending on the weather conditions, you may need to be prepared to cover them with plastic if it starts to get cold at night.

*note: if you are growing in raised beds, it is simple to take lengths of PVC pipe, and screw each end into the sides of the frame, and create a hoop that can then be covered with clear plastic. If you are growing right in the ground, pound wood stakes in the ground, and use them to secure the PVC, and make the hoop.

After hardening them off, put them in rich soil, with good drainage, and pleanty of organic material mixed in so as to maintain high moisture levels. Corn needs lots of moisture. If the leaves start to curl, you know you need to water more often.

At the same time you plant these in your garden, plant more seeds directly in the soil, and you'll have a second group growing in no time at all. Then, continue with successive plantings every 15 days or so.

Corn does not compete well with each other; but plant as many corn plants as you have room for without crowding them, and you'll have pleanty of corn to eat, freeze, or share with your neighbors.

Plant corn where it will get full sun throughout the majority of the day, and plant them in blocks of short rows, or groups about 10 inches apart in all directions.
Planting in blocks will assist with germination.

Corn needs to be fertilized with 20-20-20 when stalks are a littlte over 2 feet tall, and every two weeks thereafter. When the corn silk has all wilted and turned brown, and the kernels squirt milky liquid when poked, they are ready.

Corn can be stored for use throughout the winter, either by freezing or canning. To freeze them, strip off the outer leaves, and blanch the ears for about 5 minutes, and then put into freezer bags, or wrapped individually with plastic wrap.

Pay attention to the stalks, and watch for signs of Corn Smut (this is a very interesting for of mold, that is considered a delicacy in Mexico). And keep an eye out for crows, blue jays, and other birds that will literally attack your plants, as well as signs of mice, that will eat the young seedlings. (You can either lay out some traps, or get an aggressive, barnyard type cat from your local humane society... it doesn't even need to like people, just birds and mice.)

If you really want to enjoy the taste of corn on the cob, barbeque it! You can either shuck it, and wrap it in foil with some butter, and a bit of sea salt, or put it right on the grill, husks and all.

Corn is said to reduce the risk of some cancers, as well as heart disease, and is beneficial for the teeth and gums (and not just because it gets stuck in your teeth)...Corn oil lowers cholesterol, and is used to treat dysentery. It also increases endorphin levels.
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