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Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

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Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  kgooding on 5/1/2012, 9:23 am

Okay, so fresh corn on the cob is my absolute favorite and I would really like to grow a 3.5' x3.5' box of it. I have seen deer in my neighborhood (but not my garden!) but I have a huge number of birds and squirrels, so I know if I plant it I'll be at war with some critters.

So, the book says to put in 5-6' fence posts (4 would @ $5/post) then wrap with 4' of 1" chicken wire when the corn gets to 4' tall then throw a chicken wire top on the top (which would be 18 ft, and the metal version is $25 for 25ft.) I already have the box and the Mel's mix installed as well as bought the seeds so I'm not including that in the total cost, but basically I'm looking at $45 just to protect the corn and I'm thinking I can buy a lot of corn at the farmer's market for that price, although maybe I can find a better price for some of the materials somewhere other than Home Depot.

Anyway...does anyone have any more cost effective ideas? Or do I risk it and try to grow it without critter protection? Or am I going to the farmer's market for my summer corn? Any advise would be appreciated!

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  Squat_Johnson on 5/1/2012, 10:05 am

After two or three years feeding corn to racoons, I followed this method. (I already had posts and wire in the barn.)

It does work, but it is a lot of trouble. I left an 8" gap at one point (I was weeding the bed), and racoons got in anyway. This is the only thing I buy at roadside stands. In early summer, they are $3 a dozen ears.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  llama momma on 5/1/2012, 10:19 am

Nope. That's about it. You really need to put your horizontal protection when the corn is about 3 ft tall to keep it from blowing over. I didn't listen so my corn grew tall, leaned over in a storm several times till I had to string cord across each row and attach to the fence. The corn was too big and gangly to put protection over it at that point. Should have done it right to begin with. When I put mine in a 4x4 ft cage last summer I used the smaller variety of corn. It stayed about 6ft or so tall. I happened to have lots of prickly cucumber leaves so I spread it around the outside of the cage to make it uncomfortable for deer and raccoons, and I used a granular deer product. Smelled of coyote urine. It kept deer from the corn and the rose bush nearby. Before that, the deer ate my rose bush each year. Is it cost productive to grow your own? You'll have to decide for yourself when you weigh out the fun of having the freshest, sweetest, delicious corn right out your back door! It was my husbands favorite veggie. Since it is your favorite veggie too I would say don't look at the cost, and enjoy producing your own food. And do understand if farmers are nearby growing field corn, it can cross pollinate and make yours starchy. I have to skip it this year cause they rotate annually between soybean and corn, and this year it's corn Sad


Last edited by llama momma on 5/1/2012, 10:23 am; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : clarify)

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  kgooding on 5/1/2012, 11:09 am

I hear what you all are saying. I actually am the only one of my neighbors with a veggie garden, and am in the middle of town, so at least I don't have to worry about the cross pollination issue!

I really would like to grow my own, but I think I'm going to have to wait a year. I just put my square foot garden this spring and at this point I'm feeling like it's a money pit. With the cost of the boxes, Mel's mix, and critter cages, the trellis, and plants I'm spending way more on the project than I originally budgeted, I figure I'm up to $700 and that's about $200 more than I originally planned on. All I can say is if my husband and I move in the next few years I'm moving the gardens and binning up my mix! Granted, I didn't expect to save money on veggies, but I had hoped to come out a little better. Ohh well, I'll probably feel much different about the whole thing once my first harvest comes in, and it's a good activity to do with my toddler, so at least there's that!

Anyway, I did some reading about people putting tin cans with holes in over their ears of corn. Supposedly the ears continue to grow and ripe and it keeps the squirrels out. The site I read said you can even tie the cans onto the stalks. Obviously, I would still have to do something to keep the stalks from blowing over but anyone have any luck with this method? I figure cans would be cheap and I've seen some people just tie their stalks together to support them.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  sfg4uKim on 5/1/2012, 11:51 am

@kgooding wrote:I'm spending way more on the project than I originally budgeted, I figure I'm up to $700 and that's about $200 more than I originally planned on. All I can say is if my husband and I move in the next few years I'm moving the gardens and binning up my mix! Granted, I didn't expect to save money on veggies, but I had hoped to come out a little better. Ohh well, I'll probably feel much different about the whole thing once my first harvest comes in, and it's a good activity to do with my toddler, so at least there's that!

Yeh, the first year CAN be a bit of a shock to the wallet. BUT when you look at the cost over the LIFETIME of the bed it costs less in the long run.

ABSOLUTELY take your garden with you if you move!

____________________________

I have seen women looking at jewelry ads with a misty eye and one hand resting on the heart, and I only know what they're feeling because that's how I read the seed catalogs in January - Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle


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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  quiltbea on 5/1/2012, 12:03 pm

Since I'm putting in 3 rows of corn in one bed this year, the smaller Bantam that is sown about 8" apart, I'm interested in this thread. From your woes, I'm thinking of adding a couple more fence posts at the other 2 corners of the bed and wrapping with chicken wire if I have any critter probs. I already have two permanent posts at the north corners for trellises or stringing. Thanks.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  staci.bourff on 5/1/2012, 6:05 pm

You cpould also try the three sister planting. Here's an article about it. There's a planting diagram at the end for a 10ft by 10 ft garden, not exactly SFG, but could give you an ideal of how to do it.
http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  mrwes40 on 5/1/2012, 6:11 pm

@Squat_Johnson wrote:After two or three years feeding corn to racoons, I followed this method. (I already had posts and wire in the barn.)

It does work, but it is a lot of trouble. I left an 8" gap at one point (I was weeding the bed), and racoons got in anyway. This is the only thing I buy at roadside stands. In early summer, they are $3 a dozen ears.

+1

From what I've read, one of the only effective measures to keep raccoons out of the garden is an electrified fence. One wire at 5" and a second at 12".

Bill

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  kgooding on 5/1/2012, 8:48 pm

I kind of like the 3 sisters idea. I might have to try it. At this point I figure I have the bed set aside to do the corn, so I could run an experiment in the bed and see what happens. I'm just paranoid that I'm going to attract in critters that then decide to attack the rest of the garden that they might have otherwise left alone. It might be worth a shot though. I'll just have to find some recipes for squash as it's my least favorite veggie. Thanks for all the feedback!

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  doneal on 5/1/2012, 8:54 pm

Lets say your form of entertainment is slot machines, how much would you spend for your entertainment? And what would your return be? (Casino’s wouldn’t be in business if they lost money)

Let’s say your form of entertainment was bass fishing how much would you spend for your entertainment and what would your return be? (No not even a fish, due to a real bass fisherman doesn’t keep the fish. Catch and release)

Now let’s look at SFG as a form of entertainment. (I do) the cost of the things you purchase? What do you with them? You use them again the next year, then the next year, again and again. So if you spent “I'm looking at $45 just to protect the corn” your not going to throw it away at the end of the season, you will use it again. You also have the satisfaction of beating the critters.

Just like the other poster stated, we have to decide on our limit of spending and what the hobby of gardening is worth to us individually

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  quiltbea on 5/1/2012, 10:37 pm

I've thought of trying the Three Sisters method but thought that might be a little too much all in one place. I'm going to try it in my comm garden beds but mine will only be Two Sisters. For a start, I thought I'd sow pole beans beside the corn once its about 6" tall and see how that works. I'll keep you posted.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  marc-in-pa on 5/1/2012, 11:21 pm

With some veggies, there is a big difference in quality and cost with growing your own. Tried corn with my modest SFG set up. The quality was not as good as my farmer's market and corn is really inexpensive to buy, as others have mentioned here.

At the end of the day, for me, the yield was not high enough to justify the headache of constantly, and I do mean constantly, trying to keep ahead of the squirrels.

I will say that it was fun to try and my kids really liked watching it grow, but we threw in the towel on corn and moved on to more productive uses of those squares.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  FamilyGardening on 5/2/2012, 2:49 am

@staci.bourff wrote:You cpould also try the three sister planting. Here's an article about it. There's a planting diagram at the end for a 10ft by 10 ft garden, not exactly SFG, but could give you an ideal of how to do it.
[url=http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html
http://www.reneesgarden.com/articles/3sisters.html[/quote[/url]]

this is the way we planted our three sisters last year ...it kept the coons out!

hugs

rose

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  staci.bourff on 5/3/2012, 8:53 am

@kgooding wrote:I kind of like the 3 sisters idea. I might have to try it. At this point I figure I have the bed set aside to do the corn, so I could run an experiment in the bed and see what happens. I'm just paranoid that I'm going to attract in critters that then decide to attack the rest of the garden that they might have otherwise left alone. It might be worth a shot though. I'll just have to find some recipes for squash as it's my least favorite veggie. Thanks for all the feedback!
Pumpkins are squash. I'm going to try the 3 sisters this year to because I told my boys they could pick out seeds, and my youngest picked Big Max pumpkins. pretty sure vertical garden is not going hold a 100 lb pumpkin.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  staci.bourff on 5/3/2012, 9:01 am

@quiltbea wrote:I've thought of trying the Three Sisters method but thought that might be a little too much all in one place. I'm going to try it in my comm garden beds but mine will only be Two Sisters. For a start, I thought I'd sow pole beans beside the corn once its about 6" tall and see how that works. I'll keep you posted.
I found a website that shows you how to grow the 3 sisters in a SFG and they posted pic of how it did, and everything thrived. Sory can't remember the websites name, but I did write down the planting layout. If using a 4x4 box you plant your squash in the corner sqaures, and in the 4 center squares you plant four corn in each square, and then a bean in the middle of each corn once it's about 4-6 inches leaveing the center of each square seed free. So you'll have 8 empty squares in a 4x4 box.

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

Post  kgooding on 5/4/2012, 10:49 pm

Fantastic. I'm going to head outside this weekend and get the corn planted! I'm not sure that 16 plants is really going to be enough, but it's far better than none and I'll plant two varieties to keep it interesting. I'll keep you all posted about how it turns out!

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Re: Ideas for inexpensive corn protection?

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