Unlike most other plants, corn has a special set of needs that you must always meet to provide a decent yield year after year. If you study agriculture, you’ll find that it’s one of the more difficult plants to grow. However, once you learn about the plant, you can grow and cultivate crops annually by following the correct procedures throughout your growth cycles. Here are eight ways to improve your corn crop yield.
Tilling Your Soil Is Paramount
Plants are living organisms, and like animals, they need to breathe. Having dense and compacted ground makes life difficult for a plant as it can’t breathe. Corn is no different in this respect. So you need to ensure that you’re tilling the area you’re planting, which means turning over the top layers of soil before planting your seeds. If you skip this step, you can stunt the growth of your plants and even cause them to die off altogether. This is because they can’t properly break through the soil to aerate.
Know Your Plant’s Abilities
Not every plant is the same. When planting corn, you want to choose the best varieties you can find. A productive strain is one that grows larger quantities quicker. Having traits like this will set your crops apart from others.
You want to go with quality seeds or specimens with strong genetics to ensure that you have the best outcome from your annual crop. Check with your retailer before buying seeds and saplings to see where they come from and read the reviews.
Find the Right Location
While you don’t need to farm in an area that you’ve previously cultivated, you will have to put more effort into getting this area ready to farm. Location matters more than most people think. Rocky soil is bad for aeration and can suffocate a plant, whereas sandy soil could potentially be good, but it loses its nutrients due to the lack of structure.
You’ll need to have medium-weight, aerated soil. You should also choose a soil with the right mixture of dirt, sand, and fine rock or sediment to provide everything that the plants need to establish themselves.
Always Test the Soil Composition
If you haven’t done so yet, you need to make it a habit to have your soil tested annually. When you do this, you’re checking for the content of the soil for things like minerals and nutrients. You can also find things such as toxins and metals that can harm your harvest later on as you’re growing. The main thing to remember is when you’re having your soil tested, look for what the soil is deficient in nutritionally. This way, you can support it with adequate minerals and nutrients that will help to re-establish and balance the soil if needed.
Make Weeding Your Ground a Habit
Before you decide to grow anything, you’ll have to clear off the land first. This will include tilling, but before you get to that part of your journey, you’ll want to weed your garden. Most people choose to hand-pick their weeds, and others use chemical methods, but you may want to keep these chemicals from getting into your soil and the plants you eat. Doing things by hand or with tools when you have a large garden is always the best bet.
Start Early in the Season
It’s always best to wait for the ideal time to plant your seeds, but you can get a step ahead of yourself if you plan accordingly. It never hurts to start planning early. You can germinate and start your seedlings indoors with a simple greenhouse kit that you can make with cups and cling wrap. When you do this, you’ll be getting ahead of the process so that when the last frost happens, you won’t be starting with seedlings. Instead, you’ll have established plants that you can put right in the ground. Having these plants at a larger state of development will help with their survival later on.
Keep Drainage at the Forefront
Corn tends to grow fast, but this is due to having the optimal conditions present to allow it to do so. If the crop is sitting in water, it may undergo a process known as root rot, where the root bed will begin to decompose underground due to the lack of drainage. The excess water chokes out the plant and doesn’t allow it to breathe or uptake the vitamins and minerals necessary for its growth and survival. Luckily, you can avoid this issue by keeping drainage at the forefront of your priorities when first planting the crops. So ensure that you have amended the soil and tilled it to provide proper drainage.
Make Use of Fertilizers for Your Crop
You will also need to add fertilizers to your soil as you’re gardening. Even if you start early on in the year by fertilizing them and making your amendments, do it periodically throughout the year. If you fail to do this, your plants will deplete the soil of any nutrients by the end of the growing season, so stay on top of things. One rule of thumb is to feed your plants.
Just like animals, plants need to eat, and they eat often. These are slower-growing and moving organisms, but they are equally as alive as other living creatures on the planet. With this in mind, they need regular food and water to stay alive and reproduce. You can provide them with the food they need with fertilizer.
Before you know it, you’ll be filling your corn bags full of heads of corn that are all plump, beautiful, and delicious. If you provide your plants with the necessary fertilizer, you’ll receive so much produce that you’ll have trouble fitting it all in your pantry!
These eight tips on how to improve your corn crop should help you gain more knowledge and experience when growing corn. It can be difficult at first, but after following these steps, you’ll find that things will become much easier.