Here are some non-back-breaking steps to plant a weed-free corn field.
1. Cover the future corn bed with black plastic at least 2 months before corn planting time for your area, securing it with rocks.
2. When you lift the plastic months later, you will find a pile of dead vegetation that you simply rake up and add to compost pile.
3. Then spread a 2-4 inch layer of compost over the bed, without tilling. If you find vole or mole holes, it is the only time you can turn the soil.
4. Make a furrow with a hoe about 4-5 inches deep, which is pretty simple with a hoe. Add a line of organic fertilizer in the furrow and partially fill the furrow back to about 1 inch deep.
5. Add corn seeds 2-3 inches apart to ensure and even corn patch.
6. Lay soaker hoses along each planted row and water the seeds well.
7. Optional: if you have birds or cats in the neighborhood, covering the beds with chicken wire or whatever you have will help keep the beds pest-free.
8. Soon you will see the corn sprout and sometimes it may take up 2 weeks. You need to thin the corn to 12-18 inches apart, as it is the only way to get full sizes stalks with full ears.
9. Now all that’s left is to water and watch it grow: Water with the soaker hoses for about 4-5 hours every 4-7 days deeply to encourage deep root growth (shorter watering every few days results in shallow roots and stalks that will topple when full of ears if a wind comes up). If in doubt, dig an inch down—it is moist, the corn has enough water and can wait for a day or more to be watered.
You may see a weed here and there that you will need to pull casually as you are hooking up the soaker hose. At the end of the season the bottom leaves may yellow, but the rest of the stalks are healthy green with ears growing full. And this is the full-grown corn patch at the end of the season—ready for corn harvesting.