Corn plants grow at a slow pace but are perennial shrubs. It is a well-known indoor plant that is grown in the United States as well as in Europe. Without a doubt, it is one of the most dominant and productive crops in the world, with a global production yield exceeding 1 billion tons each year. It is used for a variety of purposes, ranging from animal feed to grain from human consumption, for sweeteners, or making syrup or starch. It is also used for alcohol production.
Companion Plants for Corn
Following is a list of some of the main plants that would make good companion plants for corn:
Planting borage along with corn is a good idea. This is because the borage can repel cabbage and potato worms. The herb borage is a warm-season annual crop that grows within a relatively short period. It can be grown in any zone of hardiness.
It also attracts beneficial insects such as bees and parasitic worms. Borage has edible and beautiful flowers. Flowers are eaten in the form of salads, and they are also known to have medicinal properties. Its commonality with corn is that it, too, grows well in the sun.
Marigolds are a good companion plant for corn as well. This is because they attract predatory insects, keep nematodes away and also repel aphids. These are all pests that can severely damage your crop. Other pests that are kept away by marigolds include cabbage maggots, flea beetles, squash bugs, cucumber beetles, and so on. The most important, of course, is the corn earworm, which is directly beneficial for the corn plant.
Of course, planting marigolds is sensible from an aesthetic point of view as well. Their bright color makes the garden look radiant and keeps it blooming from the summer to the autumn. Marigolds are drought-tolerant plants and do not have a lot of requirements when it comes to the soil, although proper drainage is a must.
Both of these crops, i.e., cucumbers as well as corn, are warm-season vegetable crops. Cucumbers can help in preventing weeds from invading your garden. The soil is also able to retain its moisture, which makes it useful. They can be seen spreading across the garden in the form of vines. Corn is usually good for cucumber; hence, it makes sense to consider planting them together.
The cucumber needs to be planted seven to fourteen days after planting the corn. Create rows of mounds that are up to four feet high, with a gap of 36 feet in between the mounds. The cucumber seeds will germinate seven to ten days after planting.
Mint, of course, is an aromatic herb that can distract predatory animals such as deer. It is common to find wild mint growing naturally in a field with corn. Not a lot of care is required for growing mint. In case you are planting the mint outside, the corn can act as a light mulch. The coarse texture of the corn sticks onto the soil around young trees and shrubs and prevents the soil from becoming too dry. The mint needs to be harvested quite frequently to keep it at its best.
Of course, mint finds application in a variety of medicines and health remedies. It is useful in aiding digestion, as well as in taking care of headaches.
5. Winter Squash
Corn and squash together form two of the three sisters that have been traditionally planted together. It is usually winter squash that is planted. The third in the trio are pole beans. The corn is planted in the center, and it offers support for the pole beans. The beans help to fix nitrogen in the soil, which brings enrichment to the other plants.
Moreover, since they vine their way around the garden, they also help to keep the soils together in a compact form. The leaves of the squash are large, and they shade the ground to keep it cool and also prevent the growth of weeds. Winter squash acts as good natural mulch while planted with corn.
Thyme is a good option in case you are planning to keep some of the smaller pests away from the corn plant, such as corn earworms. Worms find the smell of thyme very repugnant. The fragrant nearly burst out into the open – it is herbal, an earthy green, and smells medicinal. In case you do not have much time to attend to your garden, then thyme is the natural choice for you. It would flourish irrespective of neglect, and it will grow despite over-pruning or underwatering. Thyme can also be used to make syrup. Most importantly, it becomes an essential herbal ingredient when having chicken-laden soup!
Dill can help improve the flavor of the corn. It also helps in attracting beneficial insects such as ladybugs. These insects pollinate the corn and keep the level of the pests down.
Melons are vine plants, and they spread out along the ground. They provide ground cover for the corn plant, making sure that there is no growth of weeds at the base. They also help to keep the soil moist. Although, you need to make sure that the corn does not stand too directly above the melon vines, for they need to see sunlight for growth.
Nasturtium would act as a good trap for aphids when planted along with corn. This is the exact opposite of other flowering plants being planted alongside corn, which would tend to repel the pests. The aphids prefer the nasturtium and would swarm over them instead of going over to the corn stalk. Of course, it would make sense for the gardener to grow the nasturtium at a slight distance from the main crop.
10. Pole Bean
The corn needs to be first allowed to grow to a length of one foot high. Following this, the pole beans may be planted at the ends of the rows. The bean may also be planted in the intervening spaces in between the corn rows. Allow the pole bean to curl at least halfway up the corn stalk. The beans would then scramble up and between the corn stalk.
The aroma surrounding the hyssop helps to keep grazing animals such as deer away. The deer can prove to be a nuisance for the corn crop.
What Not to Plant With Corn
What are some of the plants that are an absolute no-no with corn? We will now discuss the plants that you need to avoid:
In case you decide to grow tomatoes with corn, the two plants might end up attracting both the corn earworm as well as the tomato worm. The tomato hornworm could end up munching on both of the crops. Also, tomato is as heavy a feeder as corn, and the two plants are likely to compete for resources. They should not be planted together.
Corn can potentially harm the growth of eggplants, along with attracting harmful insects towards it. Eggplants, too, tend to attract tomato hornworms, which would be potentially harmful to both plants. While they are not directly harmful to each other, they would become competition for essential nutrients.
Cabbage, in general, is not a good companion plant, for it is a heavy feeder. It tends to take in a lot of nutrition from the soil. This applies to all brassicas, such as broccoli or kale. Also, the brassicas would not do well with maize plants in general. This is because brassicas need exposure to the sunshine. The problem, in this case, would be that the corn plant would not allow the sunlight to reach them adequately.
Of course, fennel is a plant that does not grow well with most vegetable garden plants. The same applies to growing it with corn as well. It would inhibit the growth of the accompanying plant. This is the reason why fennel is almost always grown on its own. It is also known for frequently killing plants that have been planted alongside it.
This evergreen plant has a bright aesthetic look. Once they mature fully, their requirements reduce, and they grow to a good height. The corn stalk can grow up to 6 feet in height, but of course, you can cut them if so required.