Vegetables

Maize

Irrigate corn

Corn has fasciculated roots. The secondary roots are essential for absorption and are concentrated between 50 and 70 cm. from the ground. It favors friable soils and particularly fears asphyxiated soils: this is very important in choosing the best irrigation method. Corn is a plant with C4 photosynthesis, typical of hot countries, which has developed mechanisms capable of saving water. However, irrigation plays an important role in crop productivity. The average consumption of H2O is estimated at 5000 cubic meters per hectare, for the entire crop cycle, varying according to the presence of liquid in the soil and the climate. The irrigation program must perfectly meet the water needs in the period between the birth of the ear up to 5/6 weeks after flowering, for a total of 50/60 days. The amount of water used must allow the soil to be wet for a thickness of 0.70 cm. Drip irrigation can be very useful, which increases the yield of the plant, while reducing waste. It is advisable to ensure a flow of 1 liter per hour, with drip points 30 cm apart.

Grow corn


To have a good harvest it is advisable to germinate the corn grains in bowls, with 3 or 4 seeds per bowl, full of simple planting soil, enriched with a little compost for nutritional needs. When the plant becomes strong enough, it will be time to put it in the ground, placing some fertilizer in the hole. Thus begins the growth period, during which the corn forms its ear. It is at this moment that the foot of the plant will need to be hoed, but not too close to its base. Make sure that the mulch is abundant. The ear of corn will be ready when the bristles begin to turn brown, approximately 100 days after sowing. Given the height of the corn, with a stem that reaches more than 2 meters, it is possible to use it to edge the ground. It delimits, thus, growing spaces, providing some shade useful for other more sensitive plants, such as lettuce or cabbage. The fertilization of corn remains essential to obtain good and large ears. It is facilitated by the presence of several rows of corn, spaced from each other by about 80 cm, with each plant 20 cm away from the other.

Maize: how and when to fertilize


Corn grows rapidly and requires large amounts of nutrients in just a few days. From the 10-leaf stage to flowering, the plant absorbs 4 kg of nitrogen, 1 kg of phosphate and 10 kg of potassium per day. The soil must contain a quantity of nitrogen that is sufficient for a profitable crop. However, an excess of this increases the risk of groundwater pollution. The deficiency is manifested by the yellowing of the lower leaves. Subsequently the yellowed parts will turn brown and die. Two methods can be used to determine the optimal quantities of nitrogen: measure the nitrate content of the soil, or follow general recommendations based on the expected yield, the type of surface, the nature of the previous crop. Much of the nitrogen should be applied in spring, before sowing and, subsequently, before the plant reaches 30 cm. Autumn application is not recommended as it carries a greater risk of leakage. Sufficient concentrations of phosphorus and potassium are required for optimal growth and yield of maize, with applications having to occur at the time of sowing.

Corn exposure, diseases, remedies


Corn loves temperate or warm climates. The exposure must be sunny. Some diseases can affect the leaves of corn, such as for example Kabatiellosis, Puccinia rust or Helminthosphorosis. The first produces translucent spots that appear on the leaves of plants. Reduced soil cleaning and monoculture favor the development of Kabatiella, while good plowing prevents sporulation and therefore infestation of the next crop. The symptoms of Puccinia consist in the appearance on the leaves of spots that turn into reddish brown pustules. In case of infection, the leaf tissue turns yellow, withers and dies. Since the spores are carried by the wind, crop rotation as well as soil tillage do not reduce the inoculum. Some corn hybrids have good tolerance to this disease. Helminthosphoriosis is a disease of the foliage caused by a fungus. It usually shows up in late August, with green spots that take the form of spindles. They are arranged in the direction of the leaf veins and cause the leaves to dry out. Also in this case the remedy is crop rotation.

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