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how to manage the corn stalks

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how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/1/2011, 2:13 pm

Hello, I grew corn this summer and I finished harvesting it early this week. Somewhere in this forum I read that you could use a lawn mower to chop up the stalks. Do I pull them out and run my rotary mower over them? It seems they are going to get stuck between the blades. I don't want to hand chop them because my arm is just beginning to feel better after mixing my first Mel's mix in April. My lawn mower is a push mower. Any suggestions to make this easy? It will go into my compost pile, which I hope to use soon, once it is all composted.

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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Chopper on 9/1/2011, 3:19 pm

Good question Rose. Last year I hand chopped them all. Would love to know an alternative.

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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Lindacol on 9/1/2011, 3:55 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Hello, I grew corn this summer and I finished harvesting it early this week. Somewhere in this forum I read that you could use a lawn mower to chop up the stalks. Do I pull them out and run my rotary mower over them? It seems they are going to get stuck between the blades. I don't want to hand chop them because my arm is just beginning to feel better after mixing my first Mel's mix in April. My lawn mower is a push mower. Any suggestions to make this easy? It will go into my compost pile, which I hope to use soon, once it is all composted.



I imagine something like this would work:

http://inlandempire.craigslist.org/grd/2573884963.html



I feed them to the goats but that is not an option for most of you.
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  boffer on 9/1/2011, 4:09 pm

If composting speed is a priority, then you're on the right track. I would try the lawn mower first. Maybe letting the stalks dry out might help. Another option is putting them in a trash can and going after them with a weed wacker.

If speed is not a priority, lay them on the ground and build your next compost pile on top of them. I don't chop up my stalks because of the volume; it's surprising how fast they decompose.
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  squaredeal on 9/1/2011, 4:13 pm

I'm trying something different with my stalks this year based on an article someone posted on "no-turn composting". When I turned my last batch of compost I thought I would do a variant of that idea except using corn stalks rather than plastic pipe. In a clear area, I laid down several stalks horizontally, added some of my turned compost, added more stalks turned vertically, added more compost, then back to horizontal stalks, more compost, etc., until I was finished with the stalks. The stalks support the compost, helping to get air and water into the center of the compost. In the original article, the writer said his compost was half its volume in 3 weeks. Mine, too, has shrunk, and looks nearly ready.
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how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/1/2011, 6:03 pm

The chipper is not an option because I wouldn't have room to store it. Composting speed is my high priority. I have a leaf shredder but it only handles very dry leaves--I already have trouble with avocado leaves. So, I could wait until the stalks are dry to shred, but I think they are going to get stuck. I'm considering taking my pruners and simply sitting down outside and taking my time cutting them into 5 inch pieces then putting them in the compost pile--roots and all. Or should I leave the roots in the ground?

I don't know anybody who owns goats but it would be so cool to feed an animal with fresh corn stalks.

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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  milaneyjane on 9/1/2011, 6:23 pm

I use my cornstalks for fall decorations and put them in bunches at the front of the house, near the mailbox etc... What is left of my corn stalks I left up in the garden last year for a little visual interest when the snow came. It was easy pickings this spring and was great to have things to put in the compost pile right away.
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  littlejo on 9/1/2011, 8:48 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Hello, I grew corn this summer and I finished harvesting it early this week. Somewhere in this forum I read that you could use a lawn mower to chop up the stalks. Do I pull them out and run my rotary mower over them? It seems they are going to get stuck between the blades. I don't want to hand chop them because my arm is just beginning to feel better after mixing my first Mel's mix in April. My lawn mower is a push mower. Any suggestions to make this easy? It will go into my compost pile, which I hope to use soon, once it is all composted.
I believe the blades on any lawnmower are stronger than cornstalks. Pull/dig cornstalks, and lay on ground and mow them. Or as suggested, break into sections to fit in compost bin, laying the stalks down, to add air to the compost pile, which this will speed up the compost process.

Jo
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  westie42 on 9/1/2011, 9:27 pm

If you have a few ears of sweet corn still on the stalks let them dry out then shell them and pop with pop corn to have roasted/popped sweet corn. It is a premium item in a gourmet store. May take a trial or two to get it right but is real nice then.

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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Chopper on 9/1/2011, 10:26 pm

@boffer wrote:If composting speed is a priority, then you're on the right track. I would try the lawn mower first. Maybe letting the stalks dry out might help. Another option is putting them in a trash can and going after them with a weed wacker.

If speed is not a priority, lay them on the ground and build your next compost pile on top of them. I don't chop up my stalks because of the volume; it's surprising how fast they decompose.

A man after my own heart and who took to heart the part where Mel said this was EASY and LESS WORK! LOL Let mother nature do the work and I will do the cooking.

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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  boffer on 9/1/2011, 11:39 pm

LOL You've been reading me long enough, Chopper, to know that when there are options, I always choose the one that involves the least amount of work!
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how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Roseinarosecity on 9/2/2011, 12:32 pm

Thank you so much for your suggestions! I actually found a Girl Scout troop willing to take them for their annual Pumpkin Patch on the 1st of October. They will use them for decorations. I will do my best to dry them up. This is a great solution for me because it requires the least amount of my time and energy and the troop doesn't have to pay for their corn stalks.

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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Furbalsmom on 9/2/2011, 12:36 pm

cheers score one for an easy solution.
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Lindacol on 9/2/2011, 1:33 pm

@Roseinarosecity wrote:Thank you so much for your suggestions! I actually found a Girl Scout troop willing to take them for their annual Pumpkin Patch on the 1st of October. They will use them for decorations. I will do my best to dry them up. This is a great solution for me because it requires the least amount of my time and energy and the troop doesn't have to pay for their corn stalks.



Maybe you could get the scouts to chop them up and return them for your compost pile. That would be a win win solution for all.
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  milaneyjane on 9/2/2011, 10:31 pm

Two years ago I told the neighbor kids if they helped pull all the stalks (we are talking a 20 foot by 20 foot patch) they could take what they wanted for decoration....I didn't even have to pull them, LOL!cheers
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  middlemamma on 9/3/2011, 6:25 am

Last year I saw them on craigslist being sold for $3 a piece as fall decorations!!!
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Re: how to manage the corn stalks

Post  Chopper on 9/3/2011, 3:28 pm

@middlemamma wrote:Last year I saw them on craigslist being sold for $3 a piece as fall decorations!!!

Wow! What a great idea! Now I am sorry I had no corn this year. Actually I am sorry on a few levels! LOL. Missed that fresh corn! Corn, potatoes and tomatoes - bigger treats than candy when straight from the garden.

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