How to protect your corn from wind in a square foot garden

Today we’ve had wind gusts up to 30 MPH.  By tonight that might be as high as 50+ MPH.  One year my corn had gotten to be about 4 or 5 feet tall when one of these wind storms rolled through our neighborhood.  I returned home from work to find that all my corn was flattened.  It was laying on the ground completely destroyed.  All that hard work for nothing.  It was a real bummer!  At that time the corn was looking great-strong, healthy, etc.  I vowed to never let that happen again and came up with a way to do it.  Even though these aren’t as big as the ones blown over many years ago, some of them are big enough to still get pulled out of the ground because of corns shallow roots.  This shows you how to protect your corn in strong winds.  I’ve simply taken some posts(left over from an earlier experiment that didn’t work out-never throw anything away)and place one in each of the 4 corners.  I then put an additional post on the outside-middle.  Then I just stretched some left over nylon netting over the posts until tight.  The wind will still blow the corn, but it can’t blow it over.  As the corn grows higher, I will put another horizontal piece of nylon netting about 3 1/2 feet from the ground.  That way, I have a good, strong anchor to keep all the corn in place no matter how hard the wind may blow.  There have been times when we’ve had winds in excess of 70 MPH.  When I grew corn during one of those years, it came through the wind storm with no damage at all.  I went on to harvest 70+ ears of corn out of this little 4X4′ square foot garden box.

 

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8 thoughts on “How to protect your corn from wind in a square foot garden

  • by aron

    G’day Jim, thanks for the tip mate, great idea with the netting. Will definitely put it to use this weekend. We just had our first big wind of the season today. I was out in the patch trying to protect my tomatoes and watched in horror as 1 big gust flattened half my crop. Just thinking in regards to the second piece of netting you put in when the corn gets taller, if you were to put the netting in place at the start on top of the first net, all you have to do is pull it up to the height you need as its needed. Sort of like pulling up pair of pants, saves the risk of breaking any stalks when trying to thread the corn through the netting? But any thanks again for the help mate. Cheers.

    • by Jim This is post author

      That’s a great story Aron. The horizontal placement of the netting is a great trick to save corn in the SFG. Our soil-if done right-is too lose and friable to hold something as tall and as shallow as corn. I’m glad you gave it a try. You won’t ever have to worry about wind blowing your corn crop over again. Thanks for coming by and visiting…Jim

  • by forest wilson

    i’m laying out my garden plans.
    I have a question about corn and square foot method.
    The corn seed packages say to plant the corn in rows, 3 feet apart and seeds 18″ apart.
    Is the corn still delicious if I use the Square foot method?

    • by Jim This is post author

      The corn is very good in a SFG. There is a catch to it however. I think this might be the one time when the farmers have the advantage over us SFG’ers. Corn takes a significant amount of nitrogen. Farmers will seed, and then will add nitrogen when they first come up and break ground. Then they will add more when the corn is about 2 feet high. Then they will add more when it tassels, and then again a last dose when it silks. It pulls a tremendous amount of nitrogen from the soil. Some will plant something like beans very close to it to help add some extra nitrogen back into the soil. This is the method and thinking behind “3 sisters” which you can learn about on the web. If you want to grow corn in a SFG, you won’t be able to put 4 in per square because it pulls to much nitrogen-unless you douse it with fertilizer. If you don’t want to fertilizer you’re going to have to just put 1 in each square. And then you still might end up adding nitrogen. I don’t use any commercial fertilizers. And because it takes up so much space for so long, and it’s so cheap during the summer months, I’ve decided to let the farmers grown the corn. If you don’t have any issues adding a lot of fertilizer, you’ll be great. I have done it before. I just prefer to use the little space I have for quicker growing things that don’t tie up an entire 4X4 box. And that will give you 16 ears of corn which isn’t very much for the space it takes up. Hope that answers it for you.

  • by marislunch

    We planted corn in the school garden for the first time. Just the one packet that we had. They are about 6 inches tall now and the students and me are very impressed. Yesterday, we had the first strong winds of the year. Only now, do I realize that the corn patch is in a wind corridor and not protected by the buildings. They took a beating but we only lost one. I am concerned about when they get taller, but your idea just might save the day. Thank you.

    • by Jim This is post author

      If you use this trick, I can promise you won’t have to worry at all when it gets taller and the winds increase. We get wind gusts of 60+ miles per hour sometimes and nothing ever happened to the corn.

  • by John D. Wheeler

    This is a very valuable post. Your wind make my place seem calm by comparison; gusts of 50 to 70 mph happen rather regularly here during the winter, but once the leaves are fully out on the trees, it rarely gets above 20 mph.

    I am also very glad to hear of your success with corn with the new Square Foot Gardening. Twenty years ago I tried it with the old SFG methods and was disappointed with the results.

    This also answers a conundrum: I’m about ready to buy some 10′ lengths of electrical conduit for trellis frames, but I will only need 1 4′ length for every 2 6′ lengths, so this gives me a way to use the extras.

    • by Jim This is post author

      Hey John! I’m glad you liked it. I use extra rebar and extra lengths of electrical conduit to do this sort of thing for not only corn, but also for potatoes and bigger flowers that can get out of hand easily. It’s a neat little trick. One of these days I’m thinking of listing all the things I have in my garden that most normal people(does that really mean I’m abnormal?)would have already thrown away and show what I use them for. I try to use so many little things: bricks, emptied Simply Orange containers, left over nylon netting, left over string, small pieces of wood, Rubbermaid tubs and containers, wood shims, empty nursery containers, small pots, used wood chips, etc. It’s all pretty fun stuff. Thanks for coming by so often. Don’t give up on SFG corn. One year I had over 100 ears of corn in my 4X4′ box. I’ve never been able to do that again, but there’s probably a reason for that. Just use 4 per square with a shorter stalk variety and I think you’ll have success. I am trying Spring Treat for the first time. We’ll see how it looks in several weeks. By the way, when I custom make my tomato towers, I cut them to be 7′ tall. It’s a lot higher, and it gives you more room to grow your tomatoes, squash, and beans. That leaves you a 3′ section left over, which is perfect to use as the top horizontal support. Just an idea..

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