staking corn plants

Corn is one of the more iconic crops to grow in garden. I don’t think there are very many plants that give you that visual impact of being an edible home garden like corn. Tall, textured and forever changing with the season corn really is a rewarding crop. When you start getting into the realm of growing heirloom corn varieties then you start to open a whole new world of looks, flavours and possibilities. 

However, growing corn doesnt come without its challenges. Corn is known to become top heavy from time to time. When you add wind to the mix then corn can easily blow over, or worse yet, have their base snap off at ground level, causing you to lose the entire plant. 

This video and article is about how to stake young corn to keep them grounded and secured so the wind doesnt knock them over. 

when do you need to stake corn plants?

If you live in windy coastal areas, like I do, here in the lovely, windy Cape Town then you know that the wind can be a real challenge. Not only does wind create the risk of blowing plants over and causing damage, it also dries out foliage and removes significant amounts of moisture from the ground. We get into this in future videos, but this highglights the importance of good quality mulch when growing veggies in windy areas.

Back to the corn. When corn plants are young, around 40cm tall, then are very vulnerable. Their roots are not fully developed, yet they have grown enough foliage to create a good amount of wind resistance. This creates a situation where windy, gusty days can quickly end with all your young corn getting blown over. This is what happened to me in the early summer of 2020. One day with the Cape Town South Easter (Cape Doctor) and all my corn were laying flat. That’s when I realised I needed to make a plan.

Staking young corn plants is easy. All you need is a small to medium sized bamboo stick and stick it quite deep into the ground near the base of the young plant. Not too close, because you still need to give the base of the plant time to grow. This support needs to very solid, so it needs to be deep enough. Then, all you need to do it add ties as the plant grows to support the base of the plant to the support.

As the corn plant grows it maintains its strong upright nature. The base is the weakest point of a corn plant so even when the corn plant is fully grown the small stake at the base of the corn plant is all it needs to keep it supported. The rest of the corn plant is strong enough to keep itself upright.

Good luck growing your own corn and I hope this small little trick helps your corn stay upright this summer.

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