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Sweet corn needs more fertilizer next year


I just finished planting the cover crop for this winter in time for last week’s “heavy mist,” so we should see germination very shortly. Most of our plantings from June and July are coming to fruition and we should be able to harvest those in the next few weeks, except for corn. Ugh! Corn has been a bummer all season. It really needed a lot more summer than what we got this year.  The joke around here is that I have corn for the end of October, Thanksgiving and Christmas.  In a normal year we would have sweet corn by now, with the second planting close behind and the third planting for mid-October. This year hasn’t worked out as well. We got it in early enough, but it just didn’t get going. I am not giving up on it, but if that acre is going to pay for itself we are going to have to have the most incredible Indian summer ever.
If I could have gotten water on my last planting of corn, it might have done the best because of the hot weather that blessed us soon after planting it.  Of course, the third planting is always a gamble.  In hindsight, corn needs a lot more fertilizer than other vegetables, and based upon what I see, it needed a few more nutrients and heat units this season. Oh well, that is farming—not every crop pays the bills. We will have corn and it will be sweet, but a smaller harvest than planted and planned for. 
With that said, I participated in a WSU research trial using Cedargrove Compost this season. Here is what I have noticed. In the cover crop trial there was a noticeable difference in the compost areas to non-compost added areas. The potatoes were markedly larger plants and the corn plants are greener and taller where the compost was applied. 
Compost definitely works and I would encourage everyone to use it around your flower beds and vegetable gardens. We apply compost in the spring before planting and right now. Appling compost now will mimic nature because fall is the time that nature sheds its summer growth and the microbial and other ground critters make those nutrients available for next spring. In the fall we apply compost more like a mulch and in the spring we apply it more thinly and work it in. So after you clean those flower beds, muster the extra energy to mulch with compost. Your spring growth will be better and your soil happier!