The care and cultivation of corn dates back to ancient times. It is currently spread almost throughout the world, being the existing cereal with the highest production. Corn belongs to the grass species, originally from Mexico, and has a great capacity to develop in different climates, as well as resulting not only as food for human and animal consumption, but also as raw material. Therefore, in this article we are going to teach you how to care for and grow corn.
These are the parts that make up the corn plant :
- Stem. The stem is always erect, even when it reaches heights of up to eight meters. It is very similar to the size of sugar cane.
- Inflorescence. Corn consists of a male flower and a female flower, the male being what we know as “spike” or “spike”. The female branches, however, in some lateral structures of the plant.
- Leaves. They are long and large, even sharp, and are filled with a kind of soft hair.
- Roots. They are the ones that strongly anchor the plant to the ground. They are usually buried, although sometimes parts of some of them protrude.
How to care for and grow corn?
Here we explain how to care for and grow corn .
Corn needs a lot of sunlight and high temperatures . For this reason, in humid climates, its production is considerably lower. To bear fruit, it requires temperatures of up to 30ºC.
It is very demanding with water, requiring daily watering. It is advisable that the irrigation be by blanket or by aspersion, although the most used currently is the latter. During its development, corn requires less water but always maintaining a minimum level of continuous humidity. In the vegetative moment, it is when it needs watering again the most in order to reach flowering. Finally, in the ripening of the fruit, the cob, we must again reduce the irrigation.
Although this plant adapts well to all types of soils, it prefers them deep and generous in organic matter . It must also have good drainage to prevent the roots from rotting. For optimal soil preparation at planting, you must follow some very important steps:
- Preparation of the land. It is always done just before sowing. We recommend plowing the land so that the soil is loose and predisposed to compost and clean of weeds.
- Planting. Plant the best quality seeds. In this way, you ensure that you prevent against pests and diseases. Make furrows and add the seeds every 25 centimeters, approximately, one from the other.
For good growth, corn needs good amounts of minerals. It needs a fertilizer rich in nitrogen, especially during its vegetative growth. During its development, the fertilizer should be less , the last phase of fertilization being the lightest, since at that moment is when the grain is formed on the cob. To achieve a perfect compost, you should also consider the use of herbicides , because the weeds that grow around the corn take away the water and nutrients.
Pruning or “thinning” is done in the first phase of its development , keeping in mind that you must break a layer that covers the superficial roots to help them develop well.
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Preparation of the soil: that it is aerated and uniform
In addition to the weather, another of the essential factors to achieve a suitable and homogeneous birth of the corn is a good previous preparation of the soil, which must be well aerated so that germination is not hindered and thus favor the rooting of the crop.
«The preparation of the land must be done according to the previous crop. If it comes from a winter crop, unless it has legumes because it enriches the soil, you have to till 20-25 centimeters deep by turning, ”explains Juan. It is not recommended to do a deeper tillage because we would be impoverishing the land by bringing land with less organic matter to the surface.
The soil must be worked well to undo the roots of the ryegrass because the clods on the surface of more than 5 centimeters act as an obstacle to the birth of the plant
But the fact that the plow is not very deep does not mean that the land does not have to be well worked, since the soil must be well removed and crushed so that the roots of the previous crop (for example ryegrass, the most frequent in Galicia) do not interfere with the expansion of the corn roots. Sometimes there is little time to do this tillage because the last cut of grass to silage is rushed and there is little time to prepare the land and this is a common mistake that reduces the yield of corn crops in the plots.
«We must carefully monitor the preparation of the soil so that the land is in excellent condition to receive the grain that we are going to provide. The corn must be born in an untrodden land and the quality of the tillage work influences the result obtained. In one hectare the corn will create until flowering between 8,000 and 10,000 kilometers of roots and with the management that we do of the soil we can help you in this process or make it difficult. Every time a wheel passes over the ground it steps on the ground and if it steps, it compacts. From the 5 leaves come the definitive roots and where the ground is trodden they enter with much more difficulty, which causes a yield of between 10 and 15% less where the soil is trodden ”, says Albert, Therefore, it is recommended to prepare the land with not very heavy tractors and when the land is not very wet. “Sometimes it is better to wait one more day to prepare the land because the work is the same and the final yield is very different. That’s a money-worthy mistake, “he says. The work of the land must take into account the specific conditions of the soil to be cultivated, knowing that silty soils are heavier and retain more water, which is why they are also more prone to compaction and the appearance of clods.