Tips to Growing Sweet Corn

CornSo you’ve decided that you’re tired of paying the high prices for fresh vegetables and have started (or want to start) your own garden? Growing sweet corn is a great idea. Sweet corn is one of the best vegetables to start with and will yield much with a little work and care.

There are several varieties of sweet corn including color, sweetness and ear size. You can select different seeds that will be ready throughout the summer and early fall months in the US, so you’ll have fresh corn throughout the growing season.

Depending on the type of sweet corn selected, seeds from germination to harvest may take 58 to 100 days. Growing sweet corn is so easy–You’ll love it. Let’s get started!

Here are 10 tips to growing sweet corn:

1. Sweet corn should be planted after your last frost of the season and when the soil is above 55 degrees (Fahrenheit).

2. You can plant several varieties of sweet corn once the first seedlings have a few leaves on them, then plant another variety that will be ready soon after the first are ready to be picked. For example, early varieties will be ready between 58 and 85 days, plant a couple of these and you’ll have more kinds of corn.

3. If you want to have a variety of amazing sweet corn throughout the season, be sure to have separate rows in different parts of your garden to avoid cross pollination, which may reduce the quality of the sweet corn.

4. Starting with seeds (kernels) will allow you to monitor the growth of the corn. Depending on your climate, you’ll want to plant seeds 1/2 inch for cool soil to 1 – 1 ½ inches in warm or dry soil. Use a ruler or a piece of string measured 8-9 inches between seed plantings. Other varieties may need to planted 12 inches apart too. Plant at least 2 rows of the same type of corn to increase better corn yields.

5. When growing sweet corn, plant rows 30 inches apart.

6. Water corn seedlings regularly, if your area does not receive much rain, especially when corn silk becomes visible.

7. Do not use commercial herbicides or pesticides on your homegrown corn, but do remove weeds, if any, preferably by hand.

8. When growing sweet corn, most types will produce 1 large ear and smaller subsequent ears a little later than the first one.

9. Ears of corn are ready to harvest approximately 20 days after the silks appear at the end of the ear. You’ll know the corn is ready to be picked when the silks start to brown or the kernels are full and plump. Be sure to check ears of corn often so that they do not lose their plumpness before harvesting.

10. When the corn ears are ready to harvested, be sure to pull the corn ear downward, twist and snap off the stalk.

Be sure to pull back the husk and silk a couple inches to check for corn worms or beetles, which are known pests. Once the corn has been removed from the stalk, keep the husk on until you’re ready to eat, cook or freeze and you should do this within a couple days for the best taste.

Follow these tips, and you too can have the most amazing sweet corn in your own garden!

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Pic by Dodo-Bird.

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