Monday, May 6, 2013

cornfield update

Sunday we had a break in the wet weather so it was a good time to get in a little garden therapy.  I measured the cornfield and put out some stakes to start to lay out a plan.  The growing area is 40 feet deep (north and south direction) and 125 feet long (east and west direction). 

So far I am thinking about dividing the field in half the long way and then dividing the north portion in half crosswise creating two cornfields where I could then rotate each year between the two for corn.  That would give me an area that was 20 feet by 62.5 for corn each year.  If the corn was spaced 12 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart and if my math was correct that should allow for 500 corn plants.  Perhaps the corn could rotate with beans or peas for their nitrogen fixing properties.

I am looking at putting a semipermanent walkway running east and west between the corn plots and the front plot.  It would not be a hard surface but perhaps mulched to keep down the weeds and to reduce soil compaction in the growing spaces.

The front (south) portion could then be used to grow the melons and squashes and pumpkins as well as rows of other crops.   I am planning to try the raised row type of gardening for at least part of the front part perhaps putting in a few rows to see how it works.  In raised rows straw or compost is put on an 18 inch wide band on the soil or in a shallow trench.  This is then covered with soil to create an elevated area where the plants or seeds will go.  The straw helps conserve moisture, the elevated ground dries out and warms up quicker in the spring and the soil amendments only need to be added to the actual growing area, not the space between the rows.  The space between the rows is mulched and becomes a walkway.  The raised rows do not need to be tilled, the soil does not become compacted because it is not walked on.  I am excited to give it a try.   I have a pile of old straw that came off of the well piled here and ready to use.

I have potatoes from Lisa that are ready to plant.  I am expecting sweet potato slips that will go out here and have started lots of seeds in the greenhouse of tender plants that it is still a little cool to plant yet. 


  1. hopefully not a snake haven!

    1. I am hoping that too. The straw will be buried in the raised rows. I am considering what to do with the pathways. I read somewhere that straw attracts mice and maybe the mice attracted the snakes when we used it before. the possibility has been in the forefront of my thinking as well.

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