Pumkin & Corn

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Pumkin & Corn

Postby paws-a-plenty » Sat Aug 06, 2005 6:45 pm

Just wondering if there is any experience in the group with growing corn and pumkin together.

Considering 4m wide rows, rased beds 4 dranage(200mm min.). 2 rows of corn in the middle 600mm spacing between rows (double spaced in rows?). Pumkin bordering corn rows on either side, spacing plants 1m apart.

Plan: (KEY: | = row edge #=pumkin . =corn _=space)

|__..#_|
|_#..__|
|__..#_|
|_#..__|
|__..#_|
|_#..__|

hope u sort of get my drift.... :D
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Postby Pam » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:10 am

I really would have thought that pumpkin was too rampant a grower to be interplanting with corn, though as I haven't tried it, I won't say it can't be done. However, I can say that 1 metre between pumpkin plants is probably at least a third, or even a fifth of the space that they will need, and even at those spacings they will be sprawling accross one another.
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Postby Kerrie » Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:18 am

I'd have a few queries about this, it doesn't seem to me to be the most productive way to use the space. It's generally recommended with corn to plant it in blocks rather than rows, as if you have less than four rows together you might not get complete pollination. For a proper cob to form, every one of the rows of kernels needs to be pollinated via the silks at the tip, and if you don't have a block then you can end up with 'dry streaks' running down the cob where a row didn't receive fertilisation. I guess you could hand-pollinate to fix this, but corn's pretty good at pollinating itself by wind if planted in blocks.

A raised gardenbed is good for drainage, but corn also requires stability to remain upright so if it is a recently created bed (ie less than two years old) the soil density might not be sufficient to support the tall stalks. This is why it's not recommended to plant corn as a first crop in a no-dig gardenbed. A strong wind will pull the crop down unless it is sturdily anchored. Corn does produce side-roots near the base of the plant to help stabilise itself as it grows, so you need to have a good solid layer of soil for it to grip, not just mulch.

I don't know if you have much experience growing pumpkins, but they do tend to take up an AWFUL lot of room - more than you would expect. I'd personally be tempted to halve the number of pumpkin plants (to be honest I'd not use pumpkin) and replace them with zucchini or cucumber, which grow well with corn. The other concern with pumpkin is that it will climb the cornstalks, and as the fruit of the pumpkin grows it will be too heavy for the cornstalk to support and will bring it down - unless you are planning on growing miniature pumpkins. I'd only be planting pumpkin next to corn if I planned to build a support trellis to hold the maturing fruit, as a cornstalk won't hold an extra couple of kilos weight as well as its own cobs.

I hope this hasn't discouraged you, but personally I think that you can find a better companion for corn. I LOVE homegrown corn, it is sweeter and fresher than anything you can buy in the shops and it IS easy to grow, but you do need to have sufficient depth and density of soil, good drainage and nutrition, and a consistent water supply for a good crop.

Let us know how you go!

Kerrie
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Postby Sam » Sun Aug 07, 2005 10:36 am

Our favourite companion for corn would have to be beans - I've posted photos on the gallery. We grew purple kings and lazy housewife beans up our corn stalks and the results were great. The beans tasted great and pumped the nitrogen back into the soil around the roots of the corn where it is needed. The corn was at least 8ft tall with multiple cobs per stalk.

I have to agree with Kerrie, corn must be planted in blocks or it will not pollinate properly.

good luck!
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Postby paws-a-plenty » Mon Aug 08, 2005 4:21 pm

Thanx heaps Kerrie 4 your quieries... Gave me a lot to think about. :)

Your wisdom is greatly appriceated.

2 refine the plan: I have halved the No. of pumkin plants. & doubled the corn to 4 rows.

What if I was to replace the pumkin with watermelon? Would they have the same issues.

I'm using rows as my irrigation is by drip lines. 2 maybe 4 run's.
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Postby Kerrie » Tue Aug 09, 2005 5:48 am

I've no personal experience of watermelon, I'm too far south to get good results so I haven't tried it, so I hope someone else can chip in here :)

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Postby Pam » Tue Aug 09, 2005 6:07 am

Unfortunately you would have the same issues with watermelons. I don't suppose you fancy growing zucchini or silverbeet, rhubarb perhaps?!
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Postby paws-a-plenty » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:15 am

hmm...

zucchini & rhubar thanx for the suggestions... :)

have been reseraching & found this quote "pumpkins ... were grown along with corn by native Americans, making them one of the first companion crops. "(http://www.getsettogarden.com/brianmint ... ter37.html)

Attmitedly it is from a different continent, but it is evidence that it has been done...

Have another WWW Example but I don't know how it turned out: "This is my first year doing a "three sisters" garden, and so far, everything is doing great. The pumpkin vines are fanned out around the base, the corn is getting taller, and the pole beans are beginning to wind their way up the young stalks—which makes me worry. I can't help but think that the pole beans are going to wrap themselves too tightly around the stalks and not allow the corn proper growth, or that when the ears start to develop they will push through and snap the bean vines. Yikes!" (http://forums.gardenweb.com/forums/load ... 373.html?1)

Whats your opinion of this setup.... :idea:

Then I found this: "Melons are companion plants to corn" (http://www.helpfulgardener.com) There is a similrar forum which I found this little tit-bit.


Hoping to develop the idear into something that is greater than the sum of
it parts.

Your time & experience is much appriceated.

Thankfuly

Ian Dibley
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Companion Planting

Postby paws-a-plenty » Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:48 am

WWW sites 4 your reference...


http://www.attra.org/attra-pub/complant.html
Abstract
Companion planting is based on the idea that certain plants can benefit others when planted in near proximity. The scientific and traditional bases for these plant associations are discussed. A companion planting chart for common herbs, vegetables, and flowers is provided, as is a listing of literature resources for traditional companion planting. An appendix provides history, plant varieties, and planting designs for the Three Sisters, a traditional Native American companion planting practice.


http://msucares.com/pubs/publications/p2036.htm
Abstract
Interest in nonchemical pest control has increased over the past several years. In some circles, this method is synonomous with the term "organic farming," which implies nature's way. However, for the purposes of this publication, the authors followed the intent of the title, which is pest control without the use of chemicals, or to reduce the numbers of and types of sprays. The principles of nonchemical control do apply to vegetables in this publication.
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