Our sweet corn 27 days since sowing

Every year we grow sweet corn for our market in this 110ft x 110 ft field up front. Last fall I sowed tillage radish and then cut them down in February and plowed and disked to prep the seedbed for the seeder. Sowed 3 varieties of bicolor sweet corn on March 22. Watered it in a few days later.

The biggest chore about this planting is that the field is too small to turn a motorized cultivator around in…so I manually cultivate with my wheel hoe. Great exercise of course but its a TON of work.

First to harvest is a 65 day variety, then a 75, lastly a 83.

Wow, that’s exercise for sure. And not the easiest soil to push a hoe thru. Keep up the good work

I like that method of planting the 3 different lengths to maturity at one time as opposed to staggering planting dates.

I have difficulty with size perspective in photos. How tall are the plants in the photo and how much distance is between rows? My perception must be deceiving me because it only looks like about 8" between rows, not even wide enough for a man to squeeze through once the stalks get knee high.

No, no its not. Keeping a sharp edge on the stirrup blade helps. As I work this patch and improve it with organic matter it is getting easier.The tillage radish we grew and turned under made a big difference. Another thing I have found is that in years past we have used a tractor mounted tiller to prep the seedbed. With the tiller the soil is pulverized powder fine. After you hit it with water it tends to reconstitute into a brick! Since we gave up the tilling and went to plowing and disking the soil doesnt recompact down nearly as bad. I wont say that pushing the wheel hoe thru it is a pleasure…but its much improved.

Row spacing is about 14". Id like it to be about 16-18" but the row marker on our Hoss seeder doesnt go past 14". So 14" it is.

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This is what the field looked like in December with the tillage radish. Its was a pretty superb cover crop. The radishes topped out at around 4" in diameter and over a foot long down in the ground.

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Couple pictures of last year. This was memorial day 2014. You can really see the different varieties by the difference in growth habit. The earlier the variety the shorter overall they are.

The late varieties in the end got really huge.

What method do you use to give a field of corn sufficient water there? Also, how hot is it by mid-June?

Looking good!

We flood irrigate. More than a 100 years ago our farming forefathers were smart enough to build a excellent system of snow runoff catchment in the form of dams, lakes and canals. They put up all the farm land in town as collateral to build the private system and that land today comes with water rights attached to to land. We pay a small yearly fee to help maintain the canal system but the water is technically free. We get a certain allotment for every year. So many acre feet. I know that flood irrigation looks wasteful to the uniformed but know this…in a desert climate salts build up in our soils. Traditional drip irrigation eventually builds up salt to the point that things have a very tough time growing in it. It takes years and decades but it happens. Flood irrigation solves this major issue by flushing out and down most salt content. Flood is what made Arizona agriculture really possible.


Nice pictures Eric. You have a wonderful location for your farm stand!

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Excellent explanation of flood irrigation. I asked because AZ is not a state I associate with sweet corn production. I have a difficult enough time growing it here and getting it mature enough before our summer heat, humidity, and lack of rain gets to either the corn or to me too much to take care of it.

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Here is a picture tour of our irrigation this morning. I think alot of people have a hard time wrapping their mind around how Phoenix could be a great place to grow when we get only 5" of rain a year. Flood irrigation is the magic puzzle piece that makes it happen. Apologies to you dry California folks…Arizona farmers had the foresight to build and own our damns and reservoirs .We own it, not the state. And our water supply is stable and sustainable.