What are the minimum lengths and widths of corn rows?

Asked December 29, 2013, 11:52 AM EST

For average, small, victory-type gardens, what are the minimum lengths and widths of corn rows? Thank you.

Beaver County Pennsylvania

1 Response

Good question. Corn can be grown in about any configuration. The concept of rows comes from mechanization and mechanical weed control. As long as you have planting conditions that allow good seed placement and good weed management, the plants can be planted equidistant without regard to rows. The idea is to plant at a suitable number of plants per acre (or square yard, meter, foot, or whatever). Most corn producers use a plant population of around 25,000 to 35,000 per acre, which equates to one plant per 0.6 to 0.8 square feet. Plant lower, and you have a lower potential yield. Plant higher, and you have crowding that reduces yield and causes thin, spindly stalks that tend to lodge. Say you have a 10-by-10-foot plot, or 100 square feet. Using the figures above, I would suggest no more than 55 to as many as 80 plants. Be careful on the higher end, as some corn hybrids have weaker stalks.

Another issue comes to mind, which is pollination. You need to plant in a configuration that allows pollen to reach all of the corn silks effectively. If you plant in a long, narrow configuration, you will not have good pollination conditions. If you plant in a square or rectangular pattern in which the length and width are similar, pollination conditions will be better.

I hope this helps.