Am excited beginning another planting season this year.
In this article, we will show you how to plant corn (maize).
Planting corn is fun and easy to do, it’s one of those plants that you can grow in your garden or at your backyard with ease.
Before I show you how to plant corn let’s take a brief study on the crop we are about to plant.
Corn (Zea Mays) also known as maize is an annual plant that survives only one growing season.
Meaning it does not grow back every year on its own you plant new crops in the next growing season.
Corn is rich in calories.
Its an important source of carbohydrate, protein, iron, vitamin B, and minerals.
Corn is of the grass family Poaceae.
The plant has a simple stem of nodes and internodes. A pair of large leaves extend off each internode and can be between 8 – 21 leaves per plant.
The leaves are linear with a primary vein and can grow from 30cm (12 inches) to 100cm (40inches) in length.
The grains also known as kernels come in different colours such as white, yellow, red, black and purple. In Nigeria, the yellow and white are the most popular.
It’s a staple food in Nigeria eaten fresh either by boiling or roasting. It is also processed into other foods and snacks examples are
Corn Pudding (Okpu-Oka/Abari/Ekusa),
Egdo (Popular In Oyo State),
And snacks like
Donkwa (80 – 120 calories), Kokoro.
See Also: Pap for Food What You Need To Know
It is also a major ingredient in animal feed.
Corn requires a good supply of water to grow well, It needs regular normal rainfall.
Corn planting follows rainfall patterns. It is ideal to plant corn after two or three consecutive rainfalls.
This would take place between March and April in the southern region of Nigeria.
Depending on whether the rain is early or late, known as the first planting season.
The second planting season starts from late June to August.
In the northern part of Nigeria, the planting season begins in June. Planting earlier has to be with irrigation.
But Corn can be grown all year round. With functional irrigating system or regular hand watering.
At least 12-20 corns per person when planting corn to eat fresh.
Extend Harvest time to ensure a continuous harvest.
Plant corn twice or thrice in one season meaning you can plant new corn every 2 weeks for about 6 -8 weeks.
Crops that can be grown alongside corn include cassava, beans, melon (Egusi), watermelon, cucumber.
How far apart can the plants be?
Our grandparents planted seeds at 90cm (35 inches) to 100cm (40 inches) by 90cm (35 inches) to 100cm (40 inches) apart with 3 seeds per spot.This requires a lot of space, it does not optimize the usage of the land.
Rather plant seeds at 75cm (30 inches) by 25cm ( 10 inches) 1 seed per spot.
Or 90cm (35 inches) by 40cm (16 inches) 2 seeds per spot.
In smaller gardens plant 5 cm (2 inches) by 10 cm (4 inches) 1 seed per spot.
Plant side by side rows to form a block.
In smaller garden plants in square blocks instead of rows. Planting in square blocks improves cross-pollination between corn stalks.
Corn planted too close will need more water and manure and may offer a smaller yield.
Container planting of corn is not a practical choice. Although they can be grown in large containers.
the quality of seed,
variety of seed planted,
amount of rainfall,
level of weed,
pest and disease control.
The pests that affect corn are:
Diseases that affect corn plants are highland blights, maize streak virus, downy mildew.
Weed species that affect corn plants include Cyperus rotundus, Rottboellia, Cochinchinensis, Striga.
Maize Production Manual: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture http://biblio.iita.org/documents/U82ManIitaProductionNothomNodev.pdf-9fce0a6ccf8448043986682d83036bc0.pdf
Maize: Panacea for hunger in Nigeria by Amuala Bolonle Olaniyan Department of agrronomy, faculty of Agriculture & Forestry, University of Ibandan Nigeria. https://academicjournals.org/article/article1427453934_OLANIYAN.pdf
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