This season I planted corn for the first time. I planted 3 rows at a foot apart. May stalks have popped up and are over 4 feet high. How do I go about thinning them out? Should I pull them out and replace the area with fertilizer? So far I don't see corn on the cob. Looks like the beginning of corn, but then it gets dried out and brown/flaky looking. My guess is that each stalk isn't getting enough nutrients.
Thinning Corn Stalks
Certified GKH Gardening Expert
Your spacing is fine and should not require any thinning. Make sure that the corn is receiving plenty of water while growing to produce healthy ears of corn. Fertilizing may be in order and if you didn't do this before, I would certainly add something now. For future reference, unless you already know about your soil's health, I would have it tested. Fertilizing corn should be done on the basis of soil tests. Every type of soil is different and has a different chemical make up that requires different fertilizers. That being said, it is usually better to use manure or compost whenever possible; but in addition, fertilize with a commercial fertilizer such as 10-10-10.
Additionally, corn should be lightly fertilized prior to planting. It should be fertilized again when the plants are approximately 4 inches tall and again when they are 8 to 10 inches tall. Approximately 1/4 pound of complete fertilizer for every 10 feet of garden row is sufficient in most areas. If you are not using manure, you may also want to consider side dressing with a nitrogen fertilizer 3 inches from plants once they reach about a foot tall.