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Can You Grow Corn in a Pot?

Can You Grow Corn In A Pot?

At first glance, the question of, "Can you grow corn in a pot" raises a challenge to people like me.

You see I never grew up in the bread basket section of the US.  My experience as a city dweller limited some of my capabilities to plant corn.

This gave me a unique outlook, so I embarked on experimenting with this myself

But is it really possible to grow corn in a pot isolated from those that grow in large fields or in your own backyard garden?

The answer is yes, it’s definitely possible and it can also be a highly gratifying experience.

This gardening method requires personal effort to ensure the successful planting, caring and harvesting of the corn plants. 

It offers planters the excitement of watching the plants grow individually, the satisfaction of successfully nurturing them.

Seeing them flower and bear their ripe and nutritious cobs.

Being Small is Convenient

Do you believe it’s a practice worth emulating? If yes, I’ll join you through this article and guide you all the way from start to finish.

You will find that the benefits outweigh the downsides. 

You’ll get a different view of having corn growing in containers in a predetermined space right where you live and not somewhere in a huge field. 

It may be just a small space, but it is convenient to manage and its fruits, though few in number, are just as gratifying and a treat to enjoy.

Can You Grow Corn In A Pot

Just think for a minute what the really big farmers have to do to work their huge corn fields. 

There’s the application of weed killers, the plowing, seed broadcasting, spraying of insecticide and finally the harvesting, all gargantuan tasks. 

The rewards are huge also but just imagine all that activity and machinery and the huge space needed not to mention the expenses!

Yes, as the saying goes, small is beautiful.

You’re looking for a tiny weenie niche in comparison, but with the same kind of thrill and satisfaction without the huge size and all the minuses that go with it. 

Do you have space available in your backyard, at the side of your house, under the patio or even your rooftop? 

These are the type of spaces you’d need for your corn growing project.

Choosing Your Containers or Pots

Selecting the right container shouldn’t be a problem provided you keep in mind that corn prefers big, open spaces. 

This means that the container you choose should, as far as is practical, mimic the kind of freedom that the big fields provide for corn plants. 

For mimicry to be successful, you’d need very good drainage, depth for the main root, width for nutritional intake and of course stability. 

..your container is destined to ensure that your corn plants will grow in an environment.  #corn #shtf #prepping #gardentips

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Very good drainage needed? It’s easy, just a few holes in the bottom of the container.

Why are these aspects important? Because your container is destined to ensure that your corn plants will grow in an environment that is almost as similar as the environment that corn plants naturally grow in.

It is not difficult to copy nature’s ecosystem on a smaller scale. You just need to combine the elements into a whole to make it work for your corn plants. 

For example, a disused whiskey barrel would be a suitable container that can hold 8 – 10 plants.

Corn Is A Social Plant

Corn is reputed to enjoy the company of other plants growing in the same gardening space.

This does not only benefit you as a planter in having healthy corn plants, it also benefits the terrestrial ecosystem in a kind of symbiotic existence. 

You may have heard of the “Three Sisters” method of planting, used by Native Americans, so you know what is involved here.

Three plants, corn, climbing beans and squash planted together in the same spot form this triad symbiotic chain of co-existence. 

The fast growing corn provides support for the climbing beans when young. The spiraling climbing beans in turn support the corn before the cobs appear and help support the corn stalk. 

The climbing beans also fix nitrogen in the soil and fertilize all three. There are benefits galore here.

But it would be unfair not to mention what the leaves of the squash do.

Can You Grow Corn In A Pot

Squash leaves are tough and they provide protection for the tender leaves of the climbing beans from hungry pests. The plant even goes as far as discouraging hungry animals like raccoons from invading the garden. 

Corn also pollinate other corn plants through wind action which means that in order to grow well, corn must be planted closely together; you and the plants both benefit.

The Win-Win Planting Strategy

The containers you’ll be using won’t be movable once they’re filled, so you should place them early where sunlight is greatest. 

Corn plants need lots of sunlight for growth as do the corn plants out in the huge fields so it would be wise to pick space with plenty of sunlight for you corn plants and allow them to grow to 6 – 8 feet. 

The position is just right for your corn plants to grow and you get the benefit of cool shade throughout the summer season.

Filling Up Your Container

At this point, it’s critical to know that corn is insatiable when it comes to nutrients. 

The plant requires so much nutrient as nourishment it tends to absorb all the nutrients in the soil very quickly and the earth becomes devoid of nutrients. 

The soil must therefore be replenished to boost its strength so the type of nutrients that are injected back into the soil is very important.

Drainage is not as critical for corn plants grown in containers as the soil that you mix to place in your container to boost nutrient content. 

This is why it’s important for you to do it properly the first time and for the rest of the time you plants are growing. 

Corn needs trace nutrients, especially nitrogen and phosphorus so you need to know the amount of these nutrients in the soil before you plant your corn.

How to Mix Your Nutrient Rich Compost

Most people who involve themselves in gardening know that a mixture of several soil boosting compost always include manure (preferably chicken manure), fresh cuttings of grass and fish emulsion. 

Can You Grow Corn In A Pot

When thoroughly mixed properly, it will even hold sandy soil together.

This is a fantastic way to boost the nutrients in your container and an added benefit due to availability and low cost of the ingredients.

All you need to do is apply about a gallon of the newly made compost.

Next, add to the soil already in the container and you are assured that your soil has all the nutrients your corn plants will need to grow well. 

Make sure that the mulch texture is thick enough to hold moisture and porous enough to let water drain through it and carry nutrients to roots further down inside the container.

Further Reading: Slow Release Fertilizers - NPK Fertilizers Series Part 1

Planting And Nurturing Your Corn

Let’s say you now have everything ready to start planting your corn. 

You should plant your seeds some 6” from each other along the perimeter of your container, about 3 or 4 inches away from the rim at a depth of about an inch deep. 

Water is essential for good growth so drench your seeds well with water at the start and sunlight will germinate… within 10 to 14 days but less, in warmer climates.

Keep The Soil Moisturized

The continued presence of water during the growing stage is critical because corn thrives in moist soil and you should ensure the soil in your container is always watered. 

Try to create good drainage for your plants to help them thrive and keep the water coming so that nutrients circulate freely inside the container and waste water is drained out of the container. 

The best routine for this is to water your plants every second day, but every day during hot dry seasons.

Growing your own corn at negligible cost should be a morale booster for your productive ego.. #prepping #prepper #containergardening

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Harvesting the Cobs is Your Reward!

While yields are small given the limited space, harvesting corn that you grow yourself should give you a great sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. 

After succeeding with your first plants you might want to increase your corn space for your next planting. 

Growing your own corn at negligible cost should be a morale booster for your productive ego and you just may succeed in growing more corn next season. 

There’s great value and benefit for you when you prove that you can grow corn in a pot.

Related Questions

What are the main varieties of corn suited to container planting?

The short-stemmed or dwarf variety types grow much better in containers

What are the specific choices that people have in choosing these dwarf varieties?

The best choices now available are the ‘Trinity’ and ‘Sweet Painted Mountain’ strains. These varieties can grow to 4 or 5 feet in height.

What is the container size best suited for planting corn plants?

You should look out for a large container that has a width and depth of 12 inches, should have good drainage holes in the bottom part. 

Bigger containers may be needed depending on the number of people in the family.

Do Carrots Need Full Sun?

mushroom growing

Do Carrots Need Full Sun?

Do carrots need full sun is a question that many seem to ponder. 

Yes, they do because they are a winter crop, and they need as much sun as they can get.

Growing a few may seem difficult, but with just a little huff and puff, you can grow plenty for months of storage.

Continue reading

When Do I Put My Seedlings Under LIGHT?

When Do I Put My Seedlings Under LIGHT?

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Adequate knowledge is needed for starting seeds indoors. The more you know or are able to apply to your gardening, the best your plants turn out at the end of the day. 

Like you, when I just started indoor seed starting, I also had a lot of questions to ask, like “when do I put my seedlings under light” or “how far my seeds should be from the LED”. Continue reading

How Long Are Vegetable Seeds Good For | Chart & Storage Guide

How Long Are Vegetable Seeds Good For | Chart & Storage Guide

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Despite looking brittle and dry, vegetable seeds may, in fact, be very much alive and carrying the embryo of what will in the future grow to be a full-sized plant. 

Many vegetable seeds have the ability to stay viable for years. However, some, including onions seeds, deteriorate in less than a yearContinue reading

How Long Do Carrots Last | 7 Ways to Know & Make Them Last

How Long Do Carrots Last | 7 Ways to Know & Make Them Last

mushroom growing

Carrots are so tasty when you grow them yourself or if they are fresh to the market.  You can take certain precautions when you store carrots in order for them to maintain their taste and nutritional value.

Even Bugs Bunny took care of his carrots to make them last longer, or maybe he just ate them quickly.

You will learn the shelf life of carrots, plus some tips on how to make carrots last longer.Continue reading

How Long Do Potatoes Last | Plus Tips to Maximize Shelf Life

How Long Do Potatoes Last | Plus Tips to Maximize Shelf Life

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Potatoes are such a good crop that can last well into the winter should you take the proper precautions with storage.

They are very nutritious and easy to cook.

Its no wonder why Americans love their spuds.  Everything from french fries to baked potatoes.

You will learn the shelf life of potatoes, plus some tips on how to make potatoes last longer.Continue reading

How Long Do Mushrooms Last | 7 Tips to Keep them Fresh

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How Long Do Mushrooms Last | 7 Tips to Keep them Fresh

how long do mushrooms lastMushrooms are a delicious vegetable that does not last forever in storage.  Unfortunately, mother nature did not put a best by date, sell-by date, or use by date stamped on the tasty buttons.

You will learn about the shelf life of mushrooms, plus some tips on how to make mushroom last longer.Continue reading

Why Grow Zucchini In a 5-Gallon Bucket?

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Why Grow Zucchini In a 5-Gallon Bucket?

Why Grow Zucchini In a 5 Gallon BucketContainer gardening is quite popular in households with limited space, but even those who don’t have space concerns are sometimes switching from the ground to buckets. And one particularly popular plant for container growing is zucchini.

Our green thumb was developed was born gardening with 5-gallon buckets.  There was an abundance of free ones that we salvaged from local restaurants & businesses to recycle.  We feel 5-gallon buckets are inexpensive and easy to find a container that anyone should use to garden.

Today, we are going to talk about growing zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket. Below, you will find out why to make the switch to container gardening, what are its negatives, and how to grow zucchini in 5-gallon buckets!

Reasons to Grow Zucchini in a 5-gallon Bucket?

Let’s start with the rationale behind wanting to grow zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket or any other plant or container for that matter.  It takes some effort to plant and grow zucchini in a bucket, so you need to be sure that doing it will benefit you in the long run.

Growing zucchini in 5-gallon buckets may be just for you if you are seeking one or more of the benefits below AND if they outweigh the downsides.

Space efficiency

Perhaps the biggest benefit and the first reason for anyone to try and grow zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket is its space efficiency.

You don’t need to have a vast garden territory for container gardening. Furthermore, you may place that container anywhere where there is enough space.

Just make sure that the spot also has proper conditions for zucchini growing.

Mobility

5-gallon buckets are very easy to move around, which also is a benefit favored by many people.

This could come in handy when, for example, you discover that the current spot doesn’t allow the required amount of sunlight to reach the pot. 

Not only that, but the mobility of a bucket allows you to easily choose a proper spot from the aesthetic point of view.

Speaking of aesthetics, many gardeners also like that container gardening allows a bit more flexibility than regular gardening.Click To Tweet

Creative potential

Speaking of aesthetics, many gardeners also like that container gardening allows a bit more flexibility than regular gardening.

First, you have the pot which you can decorate by your taste. This won’t make the plant grow better, but it will give freedom to your creativity.

Secondly, you are free when it comes to choosing containers – while we are speaking of buckets, you are free to switch to any other container style that seems more good-looking for you.

Finally, you have freedom in terms of the layout of your containers. As mentioned above, this could allow you to create quite a spectacle of a container garden in your backyard.

Why Grow Zucchini In a 5 Gallon BucketThings to keep in mind with container gardening

The benefits of growing zucchini in 5-gallon buckets sure are appealing, but there are a few downsides that you should be mindful of as well.

Frequent watering

Buckets and, generally, any other containers do not retain water well, which means that you will have to water the zucchini more frequently. This is an even bigger problem in hot, windy, or dry conditions.

Zucchini planted in the ground may be able to feed on the water located in the depths of the soil. With a container, the plant will have as much water as you’ve provided it with.

Plants planted in the ground will also be sensitive to weather conditions, but you won’t need to water them as frequently. 

And in warmer weather, you may need to water your container zucchini at least twice a day to keep it hydrated!

Fertilizer needs

In a container, zucchini will have only so much soil to draw nutrients from. Due to this, keeping the nutrients in the container at a proper level becomes a big concern with container gardening. 

Even with the best growing medium, the zucchini will sooner or later run out of nutrients. Additional fertilization will be required, much more so than with regular gardening.

Soil needs

An empty bucket doesn’t have any soil, so you will need to buy it. Furthermore, you can’t use garden soil in a container since it can compact and strangle the roots of the plant.

The difficulty here is that there are many soil manufacturers out there offering a variety of soil types. And while we’ll give some general recommendations for zucchini growing below, you will need to spend some time researching the proper type of soil for zucchini.

Space limitations

Your zucchini won’t be able to expand in the bucket indefinitely. As the zucchini grows, it will require bigger and bigger containers. Due to this, you will probably be able to use a 5-gallon bucket just at the initial stages of zucchini growing.

Why Grow Zucchini In a 5 Gallon BucketHow to grow zucchini in 5-gallon buckets

Now, let’s have a look at the step-by-step process of growing zucchini in 5-gallon buckets. The instructions also apply to some extent to bigger containers.

  1. Plan the zucchini planting for April when the temperatures are consistently above 60 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Acquire 5-gallon buckets. Some people think that 5 gallons are the absolute minimum of container size for zucchini. If you are borrowing buckets from someone, make sure that they haven’t been used to store toxic chemicals or materials.
  3. Pick a compact zucchini like Geode, Eight Ball, Raven, or Jackpot hybrid. These will be more space-efficient and easier to grow.
  4. Make drain holes in the bottom of the bucket for drainage. You may use a drill or a nail & hammer for this. For a 5-gallon bucket, one hole every 3 inches should be enough.
  5. Acquire potting soil containing a mix of ingredients like peat, compost, fine bark, and either perlite or vermiculite. Avoid regular garden soil.
  6. Fill the bucket with the mixture. Water it to settle the soil.
  7. Determine whether your zucchini variety needs stacking. If it does, then you will need some support, for example, a tomato cage.
  8. Place the bucket in a spot where it will receive sunlight all day.
  9. Plant 5-6 zucchini seeds in the middle. Cover the seeds with one and a half-inch of soil.
  10. Water the soil after planting. After that, you’ll need to add as much water as necessary to keep the soil hydrated. Don’t allow the soil to dry completely or to get soggy.
  11. Fertilize the soil throughout the summer. Add the fertilizer in the ratio recommended by its manufacturer. Water the soil before fertilizing.
  12. As soon as the seeds germinate, cut smaller seedlings, leaving the two largest seedlings. Use sterile scissors to remove the weak seedlings.
  13. When the seedlings reach 8-10 inches, cut the weakest one. Now, you will have one large seedling.
  14. Harvest the fruits when they get around 6 inches long. It may take 45-60 days for zucchinis to grow this much, depending on the variety.
...a great way to grow squash in a container and also keep containers out of our landfills.Click To Tweet

Final Thoughts on Growing Zucchini in 5-gallon Buckets

Growing zucchini in a 5-gallon bucket is easy to do and a worthwhile container gardening hobby.  It is a great way to grow squash in a container and also keep containers out of our landfills.

You can grow almost any vegetable in a 5-gallon container if you plan for it correctly and don’t mind watering it more frequently.  5-gallon buckets are more ideal for smaller plants, but still produce a good harvest even for larger plants give the right care.

You can learn some more tips for growing squash like a boss here.

More Info

    • What are the best vegetables to grow in 5-gallon buckets? Some other vegetables that you can grow in 5-gallon buckets include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, and many herbs
    • Is it safe to grow vegetables in 5-gallon buckets? Yes, it is safe as long as you use food-safe buckets.  These containers will have safer plastics that will tend not to leech into the soil in normal conditions.

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25 Best Spinach Varieties | Different Types of Spinach to Try

25 Best Spinach Varieties | So Many Different Types of Spinach to Try

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As a child growing up, I remember my Mom trying to get me to try different types of spinach.

I am pretty certain it did not include the same spinach varieties that are discussed here, but it was not visually appealing as it came out of a can.

Fast forward to today and I have grown countless spinach varieties in my backyard garden.Continue reading