Last year, we had corn on either side of our front walk and it did very well. We had about 12 plants and probably got around 18 ears of corn by the time we pulled them out. This year, I wanted to go bigger as we really love fresh corn on the cob. I planted a three sisters garden. Basically it is just planting corn, beans, and squash in the same area. We planted ours by making mounds and planting the corn in the middle of the mounds. The beans were planted about halfway down the mound on either side of the corn. The squash was planted on the flat ground in between the corn mounds. The idea is that the beans provide nutrients which the corn needs, the beans are able to use the corn to climb on, and the squash gets the water that flows down the mounds as well as providing ground cover to keep the weeds down. What a great idea right?
My little helper:
What the three sisters garden looked like when we first planted the corn:
A few weeks later (still looking pretty good!):
Today (taken from the opposite side of the garden):
While we are getting some good produce from this garden, a few things went wrong. The beans just got to be too much for the corn and has pulled over about half the stalks. The corn still was fertilized fairly well before the stalks were pulled over, but it does make for some difficulty in harvesting both the corn and the beans. I'm sure the squash (in this case, pumpkin and acorn squash), would have done fine as a weed preventative had I kept up with the weeding all along. Unfortunately, we were away on vacation for a couple weeks and the weeds took full advantage. When we came back, there was so much grass in there that was so thick, that I just couldn't keep up with it. I am trying to pull some of it each day and now that the squash vines cover more, the grass doesn't come back right away, but it's hard to maneuver in there without stepping on squash vines.
All said, I would plant a garden like this again, but I would make a few changes. I would start my squash plants inside so that they didn't have to start all the way from seed when I put the corn in. I would also stake the corn somewhat to prevent the beans from pulling them over.
The biggest problem we had with the corn was corn worms. Grrrrr. I had been keeping an eye out for them but they seemed to pop up and eat my crop within a day. I found one about a week ago and started looking through all the ears only to find that they had decimated about half my corn crop. I went through and pulled all the ears that were ready, gave the worm-eaten parts to the chickens and kept the rest. We got about a dozen half-ears once we broke off the wormy parts. At least the corn we did get is very tasty!