Growing Corn in a large Cold Frame : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) Preparation Forum : One Thread

A post on another thread about "cold tunnels" has prompted an idea about which I would like some feedback.

I live in the high mountains and my growing season is too short for corn. It either never forms ears or the plant and ears are dwarfed. I would love to grow corn. I do have a 12X18 foot garden plot with a 6 foot wooden framed fence. If I covered this with plastic to modify the climate in early and later season, do you think I could get corn to grow? I assume it needs open access to insects for a part of its lifecycle (pollination.) Does corn grow well in a greenhouse type environment? Would one alter spacing from normal outside planting?

-- marsh (, September 07, 1999


marsh, I have never tried this but there are some possibilities. You can plant the corn in groups with 3 or 4 seeds with the groups only 1 foot apart. You might also consider a dwarf variety but remember that you may not be able to grow from seed next year. My advice though, is with a small garden, plant something smaller and more productive than corn. Good luck

-- (, September 07, 1999.

I have a friend who has been experimenting with growing corn in Alaska. The problem is a little different in that there are so few warm days.

However, FWIW, she starts hers indoors in flats and has had some reasonable success.

I agree with rcarver. It would take a lot of precious greenhouse space.

Good luck!

-- Gypsy (, September 08, 1999.

a great book for you to read is Solar Gardening. it [probably] wont be of much help for growing corn, but has lots of useful tips for growing in colder climates.

i live in northern ny state and plan to build several of the 'solar appliances' detailed in the book.

-- lou (, September 08, 1999.

Corn likes hot, humid weather. When I used to hear the phrase "just sittin' hear listening to the corn grow," I thought it was just a little folksy saying. Now, haveing lived surrounded by corn, I have experienced "listening to the corn grow." On really hot humid days, if it is still, you can hear it grow.

At high elevations, I doubt that your weather conditions are suitable for successful growing of corn. The length of the season is a factor, but also the temperature and humidity will affect the growth of the corn. I have never heard of growing corn in a greenhouse environment, but that doesn't mean it's impossible. More likely, it indicates that the process isn't cost effective.

If you try it, and this forum is still going, I'd be interested in knowing how it turned out.


-- gene (, September 08, 1999.

Thanks for the feedback. This is the smallest of my fenced gardens. I have two other large ones and a separate formal 12X15 greenhouse. What I proposed was just throwing clear plastic over the fence of the garden so the whole thing was covered. (Probably during the evening.) We do get temperatures as high as the 100s, but generally no rain. Also, the nights can get really cold.

I spent my youth in the midwest. I miss corn - hominy, cob, cornmeal, yummy. I figured it would be a nice stable to have for the millenium. I guess an attempt would be too risky of precious space. Thanks for the input, anyway.

-- marsh (, September 08, 1999.

marsh- I sorta doubt that would work- you'd need to substitute for wind pollination in any event. But instead- how about this? start your corn inside- choose a very early variety- Quickie or a similar one- transplant your corn at the time you'd normally plant it- and you've got several weeks of growth already! Or- instead- try seeding your corn under clear plastic. As it starts to grow- slice a slit in the plastic with a knife above each plant. Let it grow thru the plastic.

I understand your prdicament- I've been able to grow REAL corn for the first time this year- i always try some just in case......but with the heat we had- I'm actually picking corn now before frost!!

but- in actuality- corn takes up such a large space- is hardly worth it. and you do need at least four rows for pollination.

Cold tunnels are great however- I grow stuff in them I could never grow outside- hot peppers,(9 kinds), eggplant(7 or 8 kinds this year), huge colored sweet peppers, Brandywine tomatoes, early flowers,.....

-- farmer (, September 08, 1999.

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