Moon Phase Planting of Corn
Corn should be planted when the moon is in the 1st Quarter (i.e. waxing) and in one of the following Zodiac Signs: Cancer, Scorpio, Pisces
Preparing the Soil
Whether you’re planting a few rows of corn in your garden, or an acre of corn to feed your animals and your family during the winter, you must remember that corn is a heavy feeder and will deplete your soil if planted in the same place year after year. Even in the home garden, it makes sense to plan a crop rotation with corn always following beans or preferably clover. A rotation for a small plot of land to feed livestock might allow clover to grow as long as possible before planting corn. Just before turning this green manure crop under, spread manure or compost on the plot. Twenty tons of manure per acre is good if you have it, but any amount will help. After tilling or plowing, plant your corn. In summer, before you are ready to harvest your corn crop, sow rye grass to plow under the next spring. Then plant soybeans or other garden beans; after harvest, plant winter wheat; plow it under and plant alfalfa in the spring. Allow the alfalfa to grow to hay the next year, and then begin the rotation again with corn.
Another rotation more adapted to the home garden would plant alfalfa for green manure, followed by sweet corn, the next year by tomatoes, then beans and peas, then spring vegetables seeded to wheat in the fall, then back to alfalfa and corn again.
When you follow one of the above rotations or plan one of your own using vegetables you are accustomed to growing, remember that corn also needs lime. Apply lime at the rate of 1,000 pounds per acre the year before you plant corn. Also spread phosphate rock at the rate of two tons per acre every four years. If your soil tests low in potash, use potash rock, greensand or an good fertilizer high in potash.
Don’t be in a big hurry to plant your corn, especially if you are planning a large crop. The proper time to plant, old people say, is when oak leaves are as big as squirrel’s ears. You might want to wait a little longer, especially on a large plot, until the soil is about 62 °F. (16.670C.) about three inches down (use a soil thermometer). If you wait until the soil has warmed up, your corn gets off to a quick enough start; the warm soil hastens germination, and also cuts your chances of running into insect and weed problems brought on by rain and cold weather early in the year. If you plant more than a quarter-acre, it would be a good idea to have a corn planter of some kind. Hand-pushed mechanical planters are available, and planters that attach to garden tractors can also be purchased. If you have a small farm, you might want to look into getting an old, two-row corn planter from a neighboring farmer.
Plant field corn in 40-inch rows with plants spaced 15 inches apart. In the garden, plant your sweet corn more thickly, with six to eight inches between plants and 30 inches between rows, closer if you plan to cultivate the corn by hand. If you want to plant pole beans with your corn, allow three feet between stalks. This is a good combination since the beans use the cornstalks as poles and fix nitrogen for the corn. When the corn reaches six inches in height, plant a bean on each side of it about eight inches away. Plant popcorn and ornamental corn as you would sweet corn. Depth of planting depends on the time of year and moisture available. Early in the season, plant sweet corn at 1-1/2 inches and field corn at two inches. As the soil warms up and moisture decreases, plant a little deeper; late plantings of sweet corn should be made three to four inches deep.
To space sweet corn plantings for summer-long enjoyment, plant an early variety as soon as the soil warms up, a mid season variety five to ten days later and a late variety in another week. Weeds are a problem almost immediately after planting. Mulching right after planting will help to keep weeds down, but is really only practical on a small plot. Mulch between the rows, but mulch between plants only when they reach six to eight inches in height. If you are cultivating by hand, rake your plot about three days after planting to get weeds that might be germinating. On a larger plot, use a rotary hoe or spike-tooth harrow with the teeth set very shallow. When the corn gets high enough for you to see rows easily across the field or garden, begin cultivating with shovel cultivators or with a tiller Be careful not to bury the plants with clumps of dirt. As the corn grows higher, you can be less careful about cultivating since you won’t have to worry so much about burying the plants. When the plants have reached knee height, you should have cultivated them three times. After this, stop cultivating since you won’t want to destroy the spreading root systems of the corn.