Maize Mastery: A Comprehensive Guide to Growing Corn

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From seed to husk, the journey of growing corn can be a rewarding adventure for any aspiring gardener. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll share all the tips and tricks you need to cultivate and harvest your own delicious corn crop. Get ready to learn how to nurture this versatile and nutritious plant from ear to ear!

Benefits of Growing Your Own Corn

  • Cost-effective source of healthy and nutritious food
  • Greater control over pesticides and chemicals used in growing process
  • Opportunity for sustainable and eco-friendly gardening practices
  • Freshly harvested corn provides optimal taste and texture
  • Fun and educational experience for gardening enthusiasts and families

General Information About Corn

Plant Family: Grass family (Poaceae)
Plant Latin Name: Zea mays

Plant Variations Available

Corn is an incredibly versatile crop that comes in a wide range of varieties suited for various purposes. The most common type of corn is known as field corn, which is used mainly for animal feed, ethanol production, or as a base for processed food products, such as cornmeal and corn syrup.


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However, there are also many other types of corn with distinct characteristics and culinary applications. For example, sweet corn is a popular variety consumed fresh or canned, and its kernels are tender and edible with a mild flavor. In contrast, popcorn has a hard outer skin that traps moisture inside, causing the kernels to explode when heated, making it the perfect snack for movie nights.

Another variation is flint corn, which has a harder kernel and is popular in traditional Native American dishes like hominy and grits. Another type, dent corn, has a characteristic dent in each kernel and is primarily used for animal feed, but it is also used to make masa flour, the base for tortillas and other Mexican foods.

There are also many different colors of corn, including white, yellow, red, and blue, and some varieties even have multicolored kernels. Each color has a unique flavor profile, nutritional content, and culinary application. For example, blue corn is sweeter than other varieties and has a higher concentration of antioxidants, while white corn has a mild, delicate taste and is often used in soups, stews, and salads.

In conclusion, corn comes in a wide variety of types, colors, and flavors, each with their own unique characteristics and culinary applications. Whether as a main ingredient or a supporting player, corn is an essential ingredient in many of our favorite foods, from breakfast cereal to tortilla chips, and everything in between.

Germinating Corn

Preferred Zones

If you’re planning on growing corn outdoors, you’ll want to make sure you’re doing it in the best possible zone for optimal growth. The ideal zones for growing corn are those that have enough sunlight, warmth, and moisture to support this crop’s growth. Here are the top zones that will allow you to achieve a bountiful harvest of sweet, juicy corn:


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1. Zones 4-9: These zones are the most suitable for growing corn outdoors. They offer long growing seasons with warm summers, and they receive enough sunlight and moisture to support corn growth. If you’re looking for a zone that will give you high yields of corn, then zones 4-9 are your best bet.

2. Coastal areas: Coastal areas are also great for growing corn. They have a stable climate that’s not too hot or too cold, and the coastal breezes help to circulate air and prevent disease. The only downside is that the soil in these areas may be sandy, which requires extra attention to maintain the right levels of moisture and nutrients.

3. The Midwest: The Midwest is known as the breadbasket of America, and for good reason. This region has the perfect combination of fertile soil, moderate rainfall, and enough sunshine to grow abundant crops of corn. If you’re in the Midwest, you’re in luck – you have one of the best zones for outdoor growing of corn!

Keep in mind that regardless of the zone you’re in, you’ll need to take proper care of your corn plants. This means ensuring the right soil pH, giving your plants enough water and nutrients, and protecting them from pests and diseases. With the right care and attention, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of delicious, home-grown corn.

Sowing Instructions

When it comes to sowing corn, there are a few key factors that can make all the difference in the success of your crops. Follow these steps to ensure the best possible outcome for your corn harvest.

1. Choose the right location: Corn needs plenty of sunshine and well-drained soil to thrive. Choose a spot that gets at least six hours of direct sunlight per day and has soil that’s rich in organic matter. Avoid areas with excessive shade, heavy clay soil or places that collect water.

2. Prepare the soil: Before you start sowing the corn, you’ll need to prepare the soil properly. Begin by removing weeds and debris from the area and plow or till the soil. To create a good seedbed, compact the soil gently and create shallow furrows or ridges with a hoe or rake.

3. Plant the seeds: When sowing corn, you’ll need to plant the seeds in rows, with each seed spaced six to eight inches apart. Place the seeds about one to two inches deep, and be sure to cover them with soil. If you’re planting more than one row, space the rows at least 30 inches apart.

4. Water the corn: After planting the corn seeds, you’ll need to water them regularly to keep the soil moist. When the plants reach a height of about six inches, reduce the watering frequency slightly but make sure that the soil stays damp.

5. Fertilize the corn: Corn is a heavy feeder and requires regular fertilization to grow strong and healthy. Apply a balanced fertilizer that contains nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium before planting and a few times during the growing season.

6. Monitor the corn’s growth: To ensure the best possible harvest, monitor the corn’s growth closely. Keep an eye out for pests, disease or nutrient deficiencies and address any problems promptly to prevent them from impacting the harvest.

By following these simple steps, you can successfully sow corn and enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Preparation Advice

Ah, yes, corn, the summertime staple that evokes memories of barbecues, buttered cobs, and lazy afternoons. So, you’re thinking of growing some yourself? Excellent choice! There’s nothing quite like picking ears straight off the stalk and knowing you grew them yourself. To help you succeed, let me share some tips on the best methods and equipment you’ll need to get started.

First, it’s important to choose the right location for your corn. Corn likes full sun and well-draining soil. A plot of land with good air circulation will also help prevent disease. Once you’ve found your spot, you’ll want to prepare the soil by tilling it and adding organic matter, such as compost or aged manure. Corn is a heavy feeder, so make sure the soil has plenty of nitrogen.


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Next, it’s time to choose your seed. There are many different varieties of corn, each with its own flavor, texture, and growing time. Sweet corn is the most popular for eating fresh, but there are also varieties of corn that work well for flour, popcorn, and animal feed. Some varieties, such as heirloom corn, may be harder to find, but can add a unique flavor to your harvest. Make sure to choose a seed that is suited to your climate and soil.

Now, onto the equipment. The most essential tool for growing corn is a hoe or tiller for preparing the soil. You’ll also need a watering can, hose, or irrigation system for keeping the plants hydrated. When the corn reaches a certain height, you’ll need to provide support with a sturdy stake or trellis. In addition, you may want to invest in a mulch to help control weeds and retain moisture.

To get the most out of your corn crop, it’s important to fertilize regularly. An organic fertilizer or compost tea will provide the necessary nutrients for your plants to thrive. You may also want to use an insecticide and fungicide to prevent pests and diseases from damaging your plants.

As your corn starts to mature, you’ll know it’s ready for harvest when the kernels are plump, filled, and milky. The best way to determine ripeness is to peek under the husk and press on a kernel with your fingernail. If a milky substance comes out, it’s ready to eat!

Growing corn takes patience and care, but the rewards are delicious. With the right methods and equipment, you’ll

Germination Tools and Equipment

When it comes to germinating corn, having the right tools and equipment can make a big difference in the success of your crop. Below are some of the best tools and equipment you’ll need:

1. Seed tray – A seed tray will allow you to plant your corn seeds in an organized manner, and make it easier to transfer your seedlings to their permanent locations.


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2. Seed starting mix – A high-quality seed starting mix is essential for healthy germination. Look for a mix that is specifically designed for seed starting and provides the right amount of nutrients and moisture for your corn seeds.

3. Heat mat – Corn seeds germinate best when the soil temperature is around 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Using a heat mat under your seed tray can provide consistent warmth and speed up the germination process.

4. Grow light – Once your seedlings have emerged, they will need plenty of light to grow healthy and strong. A grow light can provide the right spectrum of light for your plants and help them grow quickly.

5. Watering can – It’s important to keep your seedlings moist but not waterlogged. A watering can with a fine nozzle can deliver just the right amount of water to your plants without damaging the delicate seedlings.


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By using these tools and equipment, you can ensure that your corn seeds germinate quickly and grow into healthy, strong plants that produce a bountiful harvest. Happy planting!

Growing Corn

Light Requirements

When it comes to growing healthy corn, lighting is an essential factor that must be considered. Corn is a crop that requires a lot of sunlight for optimal growth and development. In fact, without adequate light, corn plants can grow leggy, weak, and may fail to produce a good yield.

Illumination is the key to the success of corn agriculture, and different phases of corn growth require different levels of light. When planting corn, farmers need to ensure that the plant gets a minimum of 8 hours of direct sun each day. This helps the corn plant develop strong, healthy stalks that are better able to handle winds and severe weather conditions.

As the corn plants start growing tall and shooting up tassels, they require an average of 12 to 14 hours of sunlight daily. This helps to maximize the photosynthesis process necessary for healthy leaf and ear development. During this phase, it is crucial to ensure that corn plants get sufficient light exposure from dawn until dusk. Artificial sources of light can be used to supplement natural light during cloudy or rainy days.

Additionally, lighting requirements for corn growth vary based on planting densities. When corn plants are densely spaced, they tend to create a shade on the ground cover which reduces the amount of light that gets to each plant. To combat this, farmers can install additional light sources to supplement the natural light.

In conclusion, corn needs an ample amount of light to grow well, and adequate sunshine is beneficial to crop yield and quality. When planting corn, farmers must ensure that corn plants get a minimum of 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. As the plants grow taller, they will require more light – around 12-14 hours a day – to achieve healthy development. With the correct amount of light and attention, your corn will grow strong, healthy, and produce a bountiful harvest.

Temperature Requirements

To grow healthy corn, it is important to provide the right temperature conditions. Corn is a warm-season crop that thrives in temperatures ranging from 60 to 95 degrees Fahrenheit. However, the optimum temperature range for growth and development is between 75 and 86 degrees Fahrenheit.

Planting corn when temperatures consistently reach at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit is key to ensure proper germination and emergence. Temperatures that are too high or too low during the growing season can have a negative impact on the corn plant, causing stunted growth or even death.

It is important to note that soil and air temperatures are not always the same, and can vary depending on the location and time of day. Avoid planting corn in soil that is too cold as it can lead to poor germination rates and uneven growth. Also, be mindful of temperatures during the flowering period, as too much heat can cause the pollen to become sterile and affect the yield.


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Taking into consideration temperature requirements is an important factor when growing healthy corn. With the right conditions, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet, delicious corn that is full of flavor and nutrition.

My Favorite Tools For Growing Corn

When it comes to caring for and maintaining healthy corn, having the right tools and equipment is essential. Here are some of the best options available:

1. Garden hoe: A garden hoe is a handy tool for tilling the soil and removing any weeds around your corn plants.

2. Pruning shears: Pruning shears are a must-have tool for trimming back any dead or damaged plant material from your corn plants.

3. Watering can: Corn requires regular watering, so a good watering can is a must-have for keeping your plants healthy and hydrated.

4. Fertilizer: To keep your corn healthy and thriving, you’ll need to fertilize the soil with a quality plant food. Look for a fertilizer that’s high in nitrogen, as this is essential for corn growth.

5. Insecticide: Corn is prone to pests like aphids and earworms, so having a reliable insecticide on hand can help keep these bugs at bay.


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6. Row covers: Row covers can be a great way to protect your corn plants from pests and harsh weather conditions. They’re also helpful for keeping your plants warm in cooler climates.

With these tools and equipment on hand, you’ll be well-equipped to care for and maintain healthy corn plants. Of course, it’s also important to stay up-to-date on best practices for planting, pruning, watering, and fertilizing your crops to ensure maximum growth and yield.

Preferred Soil Type

To grow healthy corn, you’ll need soil that is rich in nutrients and well-draining. Corn is a heavy feeder, meaning that it requires ample amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to flourish. Organic matter, like compost or manure, can also help to improve the soil’s overall health and fertility.

The pH level of the soil should also be taken into consideration. Corn prefers a slightly acidic soil, with a pH range of 6.0 to 6.5. You can test your soil’s pH level using a home testing kit or by sending a sample to a local agricultural extension office.

Additionally, corn requires good soil structure and texture, which allows for proper root development and water infiltration. This can be achieved by adding sand, perlite or vermiculite to heavy clay soils, or by adding clay or organic matter to sandy soils.


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It’s important to note that corn is a large plant that can suffer from wind damage or root lodging if the soil is not firm enough. You can carefully pack the soil around the base of the corn stalks to help stabilize them.

By providing your corn with the right soil conditions, you’ll be well on your way to a successful harvest of sweet, juicy kernels. Happy growing!

Watering Requirements

Corn is a staple crop for many countries, and it requires adequate watering to grow into healthy plants. The amount of watering corn requires will depend on the soil type, weather conditions, and the growth stage of the plants.

In general, corn prefers fertile, well-draining soil, which can retain moisture but not get waterlogged. The seedlings require frequent watering in the first few weeks to establish root systems, and after that, corn needs about an inch of water per week, whether from rainfall or supplemental watering.

When watering corn, it’s essential to avoid water stress. This can cause the corn plants to wilt, stunt growth, or even reduce the yield. Overwatering, on the other hand, can lead to root rot, which can be devastating to corn crops.

To ensure adequate watering for corn, it’s advisable to monitor the soil’s moisture levels regularly. Check how deep the water penetrates into the soil, and avoid applying water during the hottest part of the day.

Depending on your region’s weather conditions, you may need to adjust the watering schedule accordingly. For example, during hot and dry weather, corn may require more watering to prevent water stress.

In summary, proper watering is crucial for growing healthy corn. Aim to provide consistent moisture and avoid water stress, which can damage the plants. With the right watering technique, you can grow healthy, flavorful corn crops that you’ll enjoy on your table.

What You Need To Know About Fertilizing Corn

Corn is a common and highly valued crop that requires proper fertilization to grow strong and healthy. The ideal fertilization for corn varies throughout its growth stages, starting from before planting to maturity.

Before planting, it is recommended to conduct a soil test to determine the soil’s fertility level. This way, you can ensure that the soil has the necessary nutrients and pH level to support corn growth. If the soil is deficient in nutrients, you can add a balanced fertilizer to improve soil fertility.

After planting, the corn requires starter fertilizer to boost its early growth. This fertilizer should contain nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium. Nitrogen is crucial for promoting strong vegetative growth, while phosphorus promotes root development, and potassium supports overall plant health.


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As the corn grows taller, it requires more nitrogen fertilizer to support its height, ear development, and grain production. A common practice is to apply nitrogen fertilizer at specific growth stages – when the corn is six to eight inches tall and again when it reaches twelve to sixteen inches. Over-fertilizing with nitrogen, however, can lead to excess vegetative growth and reduced yield, so it’s important to apply the proper amount based on the soil test results.

In addition to these essential macronutrients, corn also requires micronutrients, including sulfur, zinc, and manganese. Applying a complete fertilizer, such as a 10-10-10 or 15-15-15, can provide the necessary micronutrients for optimal growth.

In summary, fertilizing corn requires a carefully designed nutrient management plan that considers the soil’s fertility level, the crop’s growth stages, and the necessary nutrients required for strong and healthy growth. Regular monitoring and testing can help determine the optimal fertilizer application, resulting in high yields of nutrient-rich corn.

My Favorite Fertilizers For Corn

Ah, corn – the quintessential American crop that graces our tables in many different forms all year round. But, growing healthy and bountiful corn is no easy feat, and fertilizer plays a crucial role in ensuring your corn plants get the nutrients they need to thrive.

So, what’s the best fertilizer for corn? A good place to start is with a balanced N-P-K (nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium) fertilizer with a ratio of 4-1-2 or 4-2-2. These ratios ensure that the nitrogen content is high enough to satisfy corn’s high demand for it while also providing enough phosphorus and potassium to encourage healthy root and stalk growth.

If you’re growing corn organically, there are plenty of options available to you as well. Manure, compost, and bone meal are all excellent sources of nutrients that can provide your corn plants with the fertilizer they need. Additionally, mulching with straw or other organic matter can help retain moisture in the soil, which is essential for healthy corn growth.

One thing to keep in mind when fertilizing corn is to avoid over-fertilization, as this can lead to excessive growth and weakened stalks that are more susceptible to disease and pests. It’s best to follow the instructions on the fertilizer package carefully and test your soil regularly to determine its nutrient content and pH level.

In summary, a balanced N-P-K fertilizer with a ratio of 4-1-2 or 4-2-2 is a great option for fertilizing corn, but organic options like manure, compost, and bone meal can work just as well. Remember to avoid over-fertilization and test your soil regularly for best results. With the right care and nutrients, your corn will flourish and provide you with delicious, juicy kernels to enjoy all summer long.

Harvesting Corn

Time To Maturity

Corn is a fascinating crop that has been cultivated for thousands of years all over the world. It’s a staple food for many cultures, and it has a sweet, distinctive taste that makes it a favorite ingredient in many recipes.

When it comes to growing corn, there are many factors that can impact the overall time it takes to go from sprouting to maturity. Generally speaking, corn takes about 60-100 days to mature after sprouting, depending on the specific variety and growing conditions.

When corn seeds are planted in the soil, it usually takes about 7-10 days for them to germinate, or begin to sprout. During this time, the seedlings will start to poke through the soil and develop their first few leaves.

Once the corn seedlings are established, they will continue to grow rapidly, and it’s important to ensure they have enough water, nutrients, and sunlight to thrive. The first few weeks are especially important, as this is when the plants are growing their roots and establishing their overall structure.

As the corn plants mature, they will start to produce tassels, which are the male parts of the plant. This is usually followed by the development of ears, which are the female parts of the plant and where the corn kernels will eventually grow.

As the corn kernels develop, the plants will continue to grow taller and stronger until they reach full maturity. This usually takes around 60-100 days, depending on the variety of corn and the growing conditions.

In conclusion, growing corn can be a fun and rewarding experience, but it does require a bit of patience and attention to detail. With the proper care and attention, however, you can enjoy a plentiful harvest of delicious, fresh corn grown right in your own backyard.

Harvest Instructions

Harvesting corn is a crucial step in reaping the benefits of your hard work and agricultural labor. Corn is typically ready for harvest when the husks turn brown, the ears fill out, and the silks turn brown and dry.

Here is a simple procedure to help you harvest corn effectively:

1. Choose the Right Time: Timing is crucial when it comes to harvesting corn. Corn is ready for harvest when it is between 20% to 25% moisture content, which usually means that it is ready around 60 to 90 days after planting.

2. Check the Ears: Before you begin harvesting, it is important to check the ears to ensure they are mature enough. Check the condition of the ears by peeling back the husks and examining the kernels. If the kernels appear plump and filled out, then the corn is likely ready for harvest.


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3. Use a Sharp Knife or Scissors: Use a sharp knife or a pair of scissors to cut off the ears of corn from the stalk. Make sure to cut as close to the top of the ear as you can without severing the cob.

4. Remove the Husks: Once you’ve cut off the ears, remove the husks to reveal the kernels. Rinse them in cold water to remove any dirt or debris.

5. Store and Enjoy: After harvesting, consider storing the corn in a cool, dry place. If you do not plan on eating the corn right away, you can also freeze or can it for later use.

Harvesting corn can be a time-consuming process, but by following these simple steps, you can ensure that your crop is harvested effectively and with the highest degree of success.

My Favorite Tools For Harvest Time

When it comes to harvesting corn, the right tools and equipment can make all the difference. Let’s take a look at some of the best items you’ll need to gather that sweet corn.

1. Corn Knife: The first item you need when harvesting corn is a sharp corn knife. This knife is specifically designed for harvesting corn and is perfect for cutting the stalks close to the base. You can get this knife from any hardware store, and it’s an essential tool for efficient harvesting.

2. Corn Picker: If you want to save yourself from the hassle of hand-picking the corn cobs, then investing in a corn picker will make your life a lot easier. A corn picker is a mechanical device that removes the corn from the stalks quickly and efficiently. If you have a large cornfield, this tool will be a time and labor saver.

3. Corn Husking Gloves: Corn husks can be sharp and can cause irritating cuts, so you need a good set of gloves made of leather or canvas to protect your hands from cuts.

4. Corn Crates: After harvesting the corn, you need to store them correctly until they’re ready for sale or consumption. Corn crates are the perfect tool to help you store your corn. These crates are stackable and can make it easy to store your corn safely in your warehouse.

5. Corn Sheller: If you’re planning to consume the corn as a whole grain, then you need a corn sheller. The corn sheller is designed to remove the corn kernels from the cob easily and with minimum waste. You can get this equipment from any hardware store or online supplier.

In summary, harvesting corn may seem like a daunting task, but with the right tools and equipment, you’ll be able to get the work done efficiently and effectively. Remember to always use safety gear when working in the field and to invest in quality tools that will last a long time.

End of Season & Overwintering

As the end of the growing season approaches, it’s important to take steps to ensure your corn crop is properly cared for through the winter months. Here are some tips on end of season care and overwintering for your corn plants:

1. Harvesting: The first step in end of season care is harvesting your corn. When the ears are fully mature and the leaves start to turn brown and dry out, it’s time to harvest. Simply grasp the ear firmly and twist it to detach it from the stalk. Be sure to remove as much of the stalk as possible, leaving only the base of the ear attached.

2. Storing: Once harvested, corn should be stored in a cool, dry place. Ideally, temperatures should be around 60°F and humidity should be less than 70%. You can store corn in a number of ways, including on the cob or shucked kernels. Whatever method you choose, be sure to check the corn regularly for signs of spoilage and remove any damaged or moldy ears.

3. Mulching: Another important aspect of end of season care for your corn crop is mulching. Applying a layer of organic mulch, such as straw or leaves, around the base of your plants can help protect the roots from freezing temperatures and prevent soil erosion. However, it’s important not to cover the plants completely, as this can lead to moisture buildup and promote mold growth.

4. Pruning: During the winter months, it’s a good idea to prune any dead or damaged branches from your corn plants. This can help promote healthy growth in the spring and prevent the spread of disease.

By following these simple tips for end of season care and overwintering, you can help ensure a successful corn harvest year after year. With a little bit of effort and attention, your plants will be ready to produce a bountiful harvest come springtime.

Final Thoughts on Corn

Congratulations! You have successfully completed the journey of growing your own corn from seed to harvest. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you have learned the secrets of germinating, growing and harvesting healthy, delicious corn. You have learned how to choose the best seeds, how to prepare the soil, how to water and fertilize, and how to protect your corn from pests and diseases.

Growing corn is not only a fun and rewarding experience, but it also helps you to develop a deeper appreciation of food and agriculture. You have learned the importance of sustainable farming practices, and how to grow your own corn in an environmentally friendly way.

We hope that this guide has served as a valuable tool for you, and that you use it to inspire others to start growing their own corn. The satisfaction of growing and harvesting your own food is truly priceless, and we wish you all the best in your future gardening endeavors!

Frequently Asked Questions About Growing Corn

Q: How long does it take for corn to grow?
A: Corn typically takes 60-100 days to reach full maturity, depending on the variety planted and the growing conditions. It is important to plant corn in soil that has warmed up to at least 60 degrees Fahrenheit, as cooler temperatures will slow down its growth.

Q: What is the best way to plant corn?
A: Corn should be planted in rows that are 30 inches apart, with each corn seed planted about 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart. It is important to make sure that the soil has good drainage and is fertilized properly before planting. Corn should also be planted in an area that gets full sun exposure.

Q: How often should I water my corn plants?
A: Corn plants should be watered frequently, as they require consistent moisture to grow properly. It is recommended to water them deeply once a week, providing about 1-2 inches of water per week. Additional watering may be needed during dry spells or in areas with high temperatures. However, it is important to avoid over-watering, as this can lead to disease and rotting of the plants.

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