planting corn in hills : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Well I've looked through all my gardening books and can't find any good info on planting corn in hills. I'm gonna give the 3 sisters planting method a try so I want to get it right. I have always planted corn in rows. How do I plant in hills? How many seeds per hill and how far apart in the hill? How big is the hill and what is the spacing between hills? Thanks.

Another couple questions - Can I grow beans up Country Gentleman OP variety? If I plant CG in with Hopie Blue they will cross pollinate right?

-- Tiffani Cappello (, March 05, 2001


Well, when planting corn in hills, you can still use rows, just in a different manner.

I double dig all my soil (when I HAVE soil) and then hill up for the corn about 5 - 6 inches... Just a little rounded hill. I stick my finger in to the second knuckle (neanderthal that I am!!) and put in two seeds. Before covering the hole, I add some compost tea. (Indians, I believe, used dead fish... or parts thereof).

I make five or six rows of hills in a little plot, about square. That way there is good pollination. I usually only leave about 8 - 12 inches between the hills, but about 3' between the rows.

K... Open pollinated veggies.... Plant different types within a species at least 20 yards apart. Any open-pollinated anything will cross pollinate with a member of its own species. The taller the plant, the farther apart.... Climbers - I would plant them on different sides of a house or barn... (I used to have about three different gardens for this very reason....)

-- Sue Diederich (, March 05, 2001.

Yes, they will cross-pollinate unless you stagger the planting times so that the two types tassel at different times. A month should be sufficient.

I think the reason for mounding up the dirt was so water couldn't collect around the plants' "feet" and to give plenty of loose dirt for the roots to dig in to (like in raised beds). I'd say just using a hoe to mound up the dirt a bit would be plenty for your hills, 6 inches or so tall in the middle like the other poster said ~ make them wide enough that you can plant all three veggies on the mound, gently sloping out a ways from where you'll plant your squash so the whole mound is pretty wide (a couple or three feet?). You can line up the hills in rows if you like ~ just plant the squash on the outside of one hill a foot or two away from the squash in the next hill, same spacing between squash plants as if it was just squash in rows.

I'm not real sure about just how many plants, but you could experiment with different numbers in different hills ~ I'd say a half- dozen of each would be good, but you might try less in a few hills and more in a few others and see how it goes this year ~ keep notes for next year.

One reason why planting corn in circles or bunches is better than planting it in rows is because corn is wind-pollinated, so the wind has to be blowing right straight down the row for corn in rows to be pollinated optimally. How many times does that happen? LOL! When it's planted in bunches, it doesn't matter which way the wind is blowing, it's always blowing in such a way that it blows pollen from one corn plant onto another.

One more thing: It's good to use a drip irrigation system when planting this way and set it up right when you plant. The system can be as simple as laying an old garden hose across the tops of the hills (especially easy if you line them up in rows), then poke holes in it where it crosses the top of each hill. Make the holes closest to the faucet a little smaller than the ones at the far end and don't use too long of a stretch of hose or you won't have much water coming out the far end and those hills on the end will suffer.

Good luck!

-- Wingnut (, March 06, 2001.

Another reason for hills dealt with early frost. Really!!!, if the article I read had any truth in it. It was pointing out scientifically how true past cultures used systems that propagated well for them which we with scientific knowledge can prove truly were effective. So, fertilization of the rotted fish which had been buried deep enough not to contaminate the seed and seedling, deep enough then for the roots developing over time to tap into what then was a finished compost deposit. And the article stated that by planting in hills, the height provided enough inches above a frost flow to keep the tender seedlings from dying. Frost seeks the lowest level. Nope, cannot verify this from any experience of mine :) LOL. Just sharing what I had read.

-- Heather Danielson (, March 12, 2001.

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