Asked on Nov 28, 2014


Nancy Martin
by Nancy Martin
Grew corn in my garden this year, about 6 rows x 10 feet long. I can easily chop down the stalk (I think) but what do I do about the little bit of stalk and roots in the ground? It doesn't pull up easily like old flower stalks. Will it decompose over the winter? Will it easily Rototill in the spring so I can plant again in that spot? Or do I need to dig it up?
  6 answers
  • Dolores Dolores on Nov 28, 2014
    corn wont grow again, you have to plant the seed, so dig it up, chop it up an d use as mulch, if he has not got any creepy crawlies in.
  • Dorothy Dorothy on Nov 28, 2014
    The roots will rot in the garden over the winter and into the spring and easily pull up next spring. Or take a garden fork/potato fork and insert into the ground next to the row of old stalks and push down on the handle causing the tines to lift the stalks. Corn isn't deeply rooted so should come out easily if the ground is loosened (moisture helps). Compost the stalks and roots.
  • Charlene Lovelace Charlene Lovelace on Nov 28, 2014
    Pull them up.
  • Teri Mauerman Shehorn Teri Mauerman Shehorn on Nov 28, 2014
    I would leave them until you are ready to till before your next planting then compost the stalk and root. I put my fall leaves mulched with the mower on to the garden. Worms love the food and bonus is free worm casings.
  • Douglas Hunt Douglas Hunt on Nov 29, 2014
    My grandmother grew a lot of corn and I do not recall ever seeing her digging up the roots in the fall. You do want to cut the stalk as low to the ground as possible and get rid of all the debris, as corn borer larvae can overwinter there.
    • Nancy Martin Nancy Martin on Nov 29, 2014
      Thanks everyone! Looks like I have a little more to do (chop down & haul away the corn stalks) before winter really sets in!
  • Dorothy Dorothy on Nov 30, 2014
    Farmers generally harvest the corn (by machine rather than by hand so the stalks are cut) and often turn cattle or goats into the fields for the winter as they can forage on the stalks and leaves. You can compost the stalks instead. They then usually till the stubble under either in the fall and allow the fields to lay fallow over the winter before spring tilling and replanting...or in the spring as soon as the ground is workable and then replant when it has warmed enough for germination. In either case the roots and stubble is turned under and allowed to rot/compost in the ground. Corn is just a very large form of a grass
    • Nancy Martin Nancy Martin on Nov 30, 2014
      Thanks Dorothy! I wondered what the farmers did since I was pretty sure they did not pull up the roots.