Saving Space While Growing Corn


Corn is a crop that has disappointed many backyard gardeners.  Mostly because they watch lush green stalks grow up with anticipation, only to find that the ears didn’t produce any corn.  One of the more common reasons why is that they didn’t plant enough corn.  In order for corn to properly pollinate it needs to be planted in several rows, if you are planting in rows.  This can take up more space than most backyard gardeners have, or are willing to give to one crop.  But there is a way to grow corn successfully without using so much space.


  • Make some space throughout your garden, it doesn’t have to all be in the same bed, but try not to have each space separated by more than a few feet.
  • Mound some compost into a “hill” several inches high and about 2 feet across in each of the spaces that you have available. Corn is a heavy feeder, so rich compost is important if you want nice corn.
  • I recommend mulching the mounds even before the seeds have sprouted with a thin layer of coffee grounds. They are rich in nitrogen which will help the seedlings get started, and the sprouts will have no problem pushing a little coffee out of the way.
  • Thin any extra sprouts, or sprouts that are too close together. Preferably you should have about 6 plants left after thinning on each mound.  If you have less they will not pollinate.
  • Make sure that you keep them well watered and as the corn grows add thicker mulch to help with water retention and add nutrients as they grow.

With 6 mounds, and 6 stalks on each mound, and each stalk producing 2 or three ears, you can end up with over 100 ears of corn without sacrificing a large area of your garden.

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