How to Grow Sweet Corn in Your Vegetable Garden

how to grow sweet cornHarvesting Sweet Corn in the Garden

Learn how to grow sweet corn in your backyard vegetable garden. It's easy!

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If you have the space, it's quite simple to plant and care for growing sweet corn at home.

All you need to plant corn are some simple garden tools and supplies.

It helps to have access to a garden tractor or rototiller to prepare the garden soil.

But if needed, you can always dig your garden with a spade.

If you haven't yet tried freshly picked sweet corn from the garden, you don't know what you are missing!

If you have the space, grow some extra corn for canning or freezing for winter use.

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How to Grow Sweet Corn

fresh ears of sweet cornFreshly Picked Ears of Sweet Corn
  • Plant 3-4 seeds per hill, 3-4 inches deep.
  • Corn hills should be 30 to 36 inches apart.
  • Corn rows should be spaced 36 inches apart.
  • You can plant early, mid-season, and late varieties.
  • Make successive plantings every 2 or 3 weeks for a continuous supply of sweet corn through summer and into the fall.
  • Plant at least four rows of corn, as this will help with pollination and give you more ears of corn!

Tips on How to Grow Sweet Corn

When learning how to plant sweet corn, space corn hills 30 inches apart in the row and leave 3 feet between rows.

More home gardens are ruined by overcrowding than by any other factor, except perhaps weeds!

Many gardeners refrain from thinning seedlings adequately.

It is very hard for some of us to pull up your cute little seedlings when they seem to be flourishing.

But too many seedlings in a row act just like weeds and take away essential nutrients from your corn crop.

sweet corn seedlings growing in the groundSmall Corn Plants Growing in the Garden

For vegetable gardeners who want to get more corn per foot of space, the smaller growing varieties might be spaced 8 inches apart in rows 30 inches apart.

However, the later varieties such as 'Golden Cross Bantam' should be spaced at least 15 inches apart for good ear production.

By over-spacing corn, you are generally compensated with more usable ears and some sucker production.

Fertilizing Corn Plants in the Garden

  • At planting time, fertilize in bands on both sides of the seed row, 2 inches from seed in the furrow, and an inch deeper than seed level.
  • Use 3 pounds of 5-10-10 in each band per 100 feet of row.
  • When the corn has grown around 8 inches high, side-dress it with the same amount of fertilizer.
  • Repeat procedure when the plants are 18 inches tall.
sweet corn plants growing in a gardenAlmost Ripe Corn in the Garden

Watering Corn Plants in Your Garden

Sweet corn makes very rapid growth during the time when the crop is maturing.

When learning how to grow sweet corn, it is very important to keep the plants well-watered during the growing season.

The water need is greater from tasseling time to harvesting.

In very hot and dry weather, rolling of the leaves may occur in midday even when soil moisture is adequate.

Plants will lose water faster than roots will absorb it.

Although, if the leaves roll, check the soil for dryness.

More Tips on How to Grow Sweet Corn

  • Corn is pollinated by wind.
  • Therefore, plant in short blocks of at least 4 rows rather than a single file row.
  • When learning how to grow corn, do not worry about the suckers; the number varies with the variety.
  • Suckers do not take strength from the main stalks.
  • In fact, field tests have shown that removing suckers may reduce the yields.
fresh sweet corn earFully Ripe Corn in the Garden

History of Growing Corn

When Spanish explorers first saw corn plants (which the natives called maize) growing they were very intrigued.

The plant stood taller than a man and had thick ears covered with grains the size of garden peas.

The Native Americans grew it for food and the visitors to the New World reported that it was most tasty, roasted, boiled, or ground into flour.

Americans still have a love for corn products including: corn dogs, corn chips, popcorn, and cornbread.

We want to help gardeners get back to their roots with some tips on how to grow sweet corn.

The word corn has meant many different things throughout history.

Originally, any hard particle, grain, sand, or salt was called corn.

Corned beef got its name because it is cured with salt.

Both barley and wheat were called corn in the Old World.

Maize was first known as Indian corn and later shortened to just corn.

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