You may remember that earlier this year, I was excited to try my hand at growing container corn.

I learned about container corn when I was reading through Burpee’s catalog.  They had a hybrid corn called, ‘On Deck’, which was specially bred to grow in containers.  Each stalk was said to produce 2 – 3 ears.  

Well, I like to try new things in the garden and then tell you all about them.  So, I ordered the seeds and got ready.  You can read about how I prepared in my earlier blog post “An Old Whiskey Barrel and Corn Seeds”.

I hand-watered my seeds and was delighted when they quickly sprouted.

I planted a few nasturtiums in the front because I like to grow flowers with my vegetables.

The corn grew quickly, but I started to see a problem…

The corn on the outside was not growing as quickly as those in the middle.  I suspect that maybe that was because the corn in the middle received more water and/or had more room to grow their roots.

The reason it is a problem is because in order to have a good corn crop with ears full of kernels, they need to be adequately pollinated.  This is achieved by having multiple rows of corn.

In this case, I had plenty of corn stalks for pollinating.  The problem was that the outer corn weren’t maturing as quickly as those in the middle.  

As a result, the inner corn stalks started sprouting corn before the outer stalks and there was not enough pollen available.

I did get 3 tiny ears of corn among the center stalks – not worth eating at all.

I was going to pick the ears of corn so that I could show you how small they were.  But…  

The birds got to my container corn first.

I have grown corn in my vegetable gardens every year and have never had a problem with birds eating it.

But, they evidently loved my container corn.

**I watered my container corn diligently, taking care not to over water.  They were planted in good-quality planting mix and given slow-release fertilizer.

While I did like how they looked growing in my whiskey barrel, I am not impressed with their uneven growth and lack of corn.

Needless to say, I won’t be growing container corn anytime soon.  I am planning on planting strawberries in it this next spring though 🙂

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a horticulturist, certified arborist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."

3 replies
  1. Leo Smith
    Leo Smith says:

    Corn is easy when you give It the attention it needs. Rotating the pot so the sun reaches all of the stalks.

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