Corn is a popular vegetable to grow in your garden. It’s easy to grow, and the flavor of fresh sweet corn is amazing. It isn’t uncommon to see small roadside stands pop up throughout the countryside with piles of sweet corn!
In this article, we’ll talk about growing sweet corn. First, we’ll look into what it takes to grow corn in your garden, how much space, and when to start planting it. Then, we’ll talk about how hard – or easy – it is to grow corn and when to harvest. But first, let’s talk about why you might want to grow your own corn.
Why Grow Sweet Corn
Most of the time, backyard growers will grow sweet corn rather than traditional field corn. Sweet corn is a little juicier, sweeter, and softer than commercially grown corn. So sweet corn is really the best choice for growing in a home garden.
Sweet corn is easy to grow in most areas of the United States. Fresh corn from your backyard tastes much better and has more nutrition than the ears of corn you find in the grocery store. In addition, corn doesn’t have too many pests or diseases, making it easy to grow as long as you have enough space.Learn how to raise your own quail and have an unlimited supply of eggs and meat.
What Does Sweet Corn Need to Grow?
Corn needs lots of space to grow, or its development will be compromised.
It’s also wind-pollinated, so you’ll want to plant your corn in blocks rather than in long skinny rows. Don’t plant multiple varieties of corn near each other, or they might cross-pollinate and leave you with a less-tasty variety.
Ideally, you’ll want to plant at least a 10 foot by 10-foot plot of corn, but bigger is probably even better!
Plant your rows 30 to 36 inches apart, and plant your seeds about ten inches apart. For example, you might want to grow your corn in blocks of 6 rows, with each row being ten to fifteen feet long. Growing corn this way will give you a nice block of plants that can be well pollinated.
Corn needs to be planted where it will receive full sun. Full sun is at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunshine per day.
Corn needs a lot of water to grow well. It will need 1 to 2 inches of water per week. If you don’t get this much rainfall, you’ll need to water it.
You can put down a layer of mulch to help keep moisture in when you are growing corn.
Before planting, work plenty of well-aged compost or manure into your soil. Adding plenty of compost or manure will increase the soil’s ability to hold water and fertilize your corn.
If you have poor soil, you can apply 10-10-10 fertilizer when you plant your corn and then again when the plants reach about 12 inches tall. Fall the manufacturer’s directions and be careful not to burn the plants when applying.
How to Plant Corn?
Corn does best when it is direct-sown from seed right into the garden. It doesn’t transplant well, so you don’t need to start seeds indoors, or purchase started corn plants.
You can plant your corn about two weeks after the last frost date. Dig a trench about one inch deep and sow your corn every ten inches or so. If you sow it closer together, you’ll need to thin the seedlings later on.
How Long Does It Take for Corn to Grow?
Corn takes anywhere from 60 to 100 days to grow. The variety of corn, weather conditions, and soil conditions can all affect how long it takes the corn to grow. For example, if it is too dry, your corn won’t be able to reach maturity. Growth can be stunted if your corn doesn’t get enough sunshine, either.
If the soil temperature is warm enough when you plant your corn (60 degrees Fahrenheit or warmer), it should germinate and break through the soil in 10 to 14 days.
Harvesting Sweet Corn
Your corn should be ready to harvest around 20 days after the silks appear. When its time, the ears will be dark green, and the silks will be brown. You can open up an ear and test it to see if it is ready. You’ll find the kernels should be plump and soft. When you squeeze a corn kernel, you’ll get a milky juice. Then you know your ears are ready!
Harvest corn when you are ready to eat it. To remove the ear from the plant, pull down and twist. It should pop right off! Then, you can pull off the outer leaves, remove the silk, and cook your corn. If there are any worms, don’t worry. You can just cut away that part of the cob and eat the rest.
How Much Sweet Corn Will You Get?
Most varieties of corn will give you one or two ears per stalk. There are a few hybrid varieties that can grow more, but for the most part, you’ll want to count on getting one or two when you plan your garden.
If you want to have sweet corn all summer long, figure out how much your family will eat over two weeks. Then you’ll want to plant that many plus some extra to make sure you have enough. Two weeks later, if you have the room, you can plant that many more again. Continue planting this way all season long to have a steady supply of corn to eat.
Best Varieties of Sweet Corn to Plant at Home
There are many different varieties of sweet corn that you can plant, but you might want to try some of these:
- Golden Bantam
- Jubilee Hybrid
- Silver Queen Hybrid
- Nirvana Hybrid
- Blue Hopi (heirloom)
Many hybrid varieties will be easy to grow and resistant to diseases. However, if you plan on saving your own seeds for future planting, you will want to look for easy-to-grow heirloom varieties. While you can replant hybrid types of corn, you might not get the same delicious ears in the following year’s harvest.
How Much Work Is Sweet Corn?
Sweet corn doesn’t require much work, but it needs more space to grow than vegetables like carrots or greens. However, if you have the space to plant corn and enough time to prep the garden with compost, you should have a delicious harvest of sweet corn for you and your family.
Now go and sow, so you can reap!