The Benefits Of Growing Corn Indoors
Corn as a houseplant? With a bit of work and dedication you an have a beautiful and edible plant that adds life and colour to any room.
There are four benefits to growing corn indoors. First, you are able to control the temperature and light to create an ideal growing condition. Second, you can make sure your corn gets enough nutrients. Third, you don’t have to worry about insects or other critters eating your harvest. Finally, you can save on water consumption. Some important points to consider about growing corn indoors are artificially pollinating your plants, choosing the right container and the right variety, and don’t forget about growing sprouts and microgreens.
Corn is not your average indoor plant. Even though it is not usually cultivated inside, it can be grown quite successfully if you give it the proper care and attention. Also, some issues that plague corn growers are eliminated when you bring this tall vegetable into your home.
There are 4 benefits of growing corn indoors:
- Controlled temperature and light
- Well-fed corn
- Pest protection
- Water conservation
1. Controlled Temperature And Light
Corn needs a high soil temperature to germinate, preferably at least 18°C (65°F). This is easily attained in your house and you should have successful germination.
Furthermore, corn needs heat to grow, and plenty of it. Corn growth is usually discussed in terms of “heat units” to achieve successful ear maturity. If the corn doesn’t get enough heat every day, then it won’t fully mature. Basically, each day needs to have an average temperature of 10°C (50°F) for the entire growing period for the cobs to develop into juicy cobs.
When your corn is grown out in your garden or a field, it is subject to fickle weather conditions. Indoors, however, the temperature remains much more consistent. Even if it doesn’t, most people’s house temperature rarely falls below 10°C. Your corn should have a great, consistent temperature to grow and produce.
Corn also needs full sun to grow and thrive. Outside, cloudy days can sometimes linger for weeks, depriving your corn of the much needed solar energy. Indoors, your corn can be supplemented with artificial light. Corn does best when it has at least 6 to 8 hours of light each day, and you can easily set up a light on an automatic timer to provide this. Grow lights or fluorescent lights are commonly used to grow corn indoors, but you can use daylight LEDs for a more environmentally friendly option.
2. Well-Fed Corn
Corn is a heavy feeder, and so it needs lots of nutrients to grow. Besides mixing plenty of compost and manure into your potting soil, your corn might require additional nutrients as it grows. When your corn is growing in your living room, you can easily monitor its health and growth, and amend as needed.
Artificial or synthetic fertilizers are not necessary with so many green and organic options available these days. Here is a link to many natural fertilizers that will really help your indoor corn thrive. Also, check your local garden centre or Amazon for options that are available in your area.
3. Pest Protection
Crows, ravens, and other birds are iconic to the cornfield for good reason. A large flock of birds can quickly decimate a field of corn in a short time. And we cannot forget about the four-legged creatures who also love eating and storing corn before it is ripe enough for you to eat it. Indoor corn is well protected against these “pests” who seem to be always hungry.
Corn is also susceptible to several bugs that can quickly wipe out your crop. When your corn is indoors, these bugs will stay on the other side of the window where they belong, and far away from your corn.
4. Water Conservation
Corn needs a lot of water to grow successfully. In dry years, this can suck up a lot of the precious liquid from other plants. On really dry years, the corn might not grow at all. Growing your corn indoors can be a saving grace. Indoor house plants generally need less watering than plants grown outdoors.
It is a good idea to check the soil every couple of days. Water your corn when the top of the soil feels dry. Make sure not to over water, as the roots of the corn plant can easily rot in wet, soggy soil.
While you won’t be able to grow a year’s supply of corn in your living room, self-sufficiency is not about become a live-off-the-land homesteader overnight. It is about providing for yourself as much as you can. Even if you only grow enough corn indoors for one meal, that is one less meal that you had to buy from the supermarket. You are one meal closer to a more sustainable future. Here are a few other tips for growing corn indoors.
Tips To Grow The Best Corn Indoors
Corn is pollinated by wind. Pollen from the tassel at the top of the plant is blown onto the cobs where it contacts the female silks. Without this process, kernels will not develop and you will have disappointingly empty cobs.
Of course, there is no wind indoors. Your corn plants will not pollinate naturally so you will have to do it for them. When your tassels have begun to form, periodically give your corn stalks a shake to spread the pollen from the tassel to the cob.
Choosing The Right Container
Choosing the right pot is important for any indoor plant. This is especially true for such a tall, top-heavy plant with a big root base as corn. In another article, we go into more detail about how to grow corn in a pot and selecting the best pot size. When growing your corn indoors, don’t forget to put a drip tray under the container to catch any excess water that might run out and ruin your floor.
The Best Variety For Indoor Cultivation
There are many short, dwarf varieties of corn that are well suited for indoor growing. Check with your local garden centre, but the “Golden Dwarf” and the “Early Sunglow” are a few popular varieties of edible houseplants.
Corn Sprouts and Microgreens
One tangent about growing corn indoors is corn sprouts and microgreens. Corn has become very popular as a sprout in the last few years, and these highly nutritious baby plants take up little space and can add a lot of flavour to your dinners.