Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Corn, Planted in Nests

Sunfish nest in the Brazos river, last summer.
This spring, when I planted my corn, I worked with a vision of sunfish and warm, Midwestern streams in my mind.

The connection may seem obscure, until you see that my corn is planted in shallow saucers that look a lot like the nests that sunfish make. A major difference, though, is that my saucers are on dry ground, in the garden, and not underwater.

Planting three corn seeds in each saucer, with each saucer being  12-15 inches across and the saucers spaced 8-10 inches apart, results in a good density of plants in my garden, even when the three seeds in each saucer do not all survive to maturity.

This past weekend, when the seedlings were nearly 8 inches high, I pulled soil from the rims into the centers of the saucers, so that each little plant has an extra couple inches depth of soil over its roots.

In the past several years, even when I have planted my corn in rows, like a farmer, I have planted the seeds in ditches that I later filled with dirt from the rims, to weigh down the roots. I didn't always manage the corn this way, but the first year I sunk the planting space for my corn seeds was also the first year my corn didn't blow over in an August storm, and it was the first year the crows didn't uproot the corn seedlings to eat the tender kernel underneath.

I haven't done comparison plantings to determine whether this is all coincidence rather than cause-and-effect, but I am sticking with the current planting method until it quits working for me. Hope all the other gardens out there are growing well!


  1. Great analogy. I remember those "saucers" well from my fishing days as a kid in Louisiana.

  2. Yes -- I always enjoyed seeing the little fish guarding their nests! We saw this one while visiting family last summer.


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