I See Fodder Shocks


Our corn is finally done and the stalks are dying. But they can have a new life in a cute fall decoration! (See how to build a fodder shock here.)

Our corn.

Even in a bad garden year, this corn isn’t anything to write home about, but hey, it’s our corn. I’ve never had a huge amount of success growing corn. Corn needs to be pollinated, so it’s a challenging crop for the average-sized country garden. And yet I like to grow it anyway. Corn just makes a garden look like a garden, you know?


  1. KLabmom says:

    If you don’t plant your corn in long rows, but in a square instead, it will pollenate better. The wind will blow it along the tops of the other plants. Or this year we planted it in a circle and it did quite well. But as I said, we have had tremendous luck in planting short rows to make a square. We always get good corn that way!!!

  2. Nancy in Iowa says:

    The yellow corn stalks across the road from my apartment still look wonderfully country – when they were green the field was beautiful. I was the grateful recipient of some fresh corn from one of my neighbors this summer. Back to the cans!

  3. Nic, SD says:

    If it’s just the look you’re after, my Mum grows broom corn every year. At the end you can, ya know, make a broom out of it. Or if you just don’t want/need one, it also looks really pretty just set up in a vase.

  4. Drucillajoy says:

    you need bees….

  5. Nikki says:

    My mom is the same way she complains how corn takes up space and needs to be shaken to pollinate but can’t have a garden without it. She planted a 4×4 square of it this year “for the nephews” but I swear its because she can’t let go. Me? I don’t grow it as I would be the only one to eat it, and I can get it from her.

  6. Charlene says:

    What KLabmom said. Squares are definitely the way to go.

  7. Andrea the Kitchen Witch says:

    I don’t usually plant corn cause I can buy it for so cheap. But I agree, it looks like a garden with corn growing. And the stalks are the perfect fall decoration. Man, I wish I planted corn this year now 🙂

  8. Barbee' says:

    Yes, corn planted in blocks (squares) pollinates better.

  9. Vicki in So. CA says:

    I second (3rd? 4th?) the squares/blocks. Pollination is better. As for ours… this year the squirrels ate them all by the time they got 4 inches tall. Twice! :hissyfit:

    We do foddershocks at our Pumpkin Patch in the fall at our community garden. It looks great!

  10. glenda says:

    If your garden is long and narrow, just take one end and do short rows. I always plant my sweet corn in at least 4 rows and raise all we two need. Usually 20 to 25 foot rows, but you can do them shorter too. Corn is wind pollinated so don’t plant it too close together. I do 24 to 30 inch wide rows with corn 9 inches or so apart in the row.

  11. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Suzanne, next year try shorter rows, but more of them side by side. Since it is pollinated by the wind, gives a better chance of pollen being dusted down onto the silks. A long row or two won’t get enough pollination to produce much.

  12. Darlene in North Ga says:

    And I put the chicken droppings straight from the coop onto the corn. My 4’x4′ square produced a LOT of corn!

  13. Sheila Z says:

    Corn is a heavy feeder, so use lots of fertilizer. You have the perfect source, all those animal droppings. Fertilize the soil before planting and then don’t be afraid to side dress it once the corn is up and growing. Side dressing with fertilizer just means running a row of manure a few inches away from the row of corn. All the comments about short blocks rather than one or two long rows are good advice too. Corn needs to be at least 4 rows wide to pollinate well.

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