How do you grow sweet corn?

Sweet Corn - courtesy The Marmot - CC-BY

Sweet Corn - courtesy The Marmot - CC-BY

Why would anybody want to grow sweetcorn?  Well, because it is sweetcorn, of course. Can anything from the summer garden be better?

First, we need plenty of space that gets full sun along with adequate soil moisture and nutrients, and be sure to pick the ears at optimum maturity.

Our crop will need rich soil with enough nitrogen and moisture.  Even our best garden soil may need some fertilizer.  A well grown stand of corn will usually produce two ears a stalk.

Plant two or three seeds about a foot apart, in rows about three feet apart. Shorter, earlier varieties can be spaced somewhat closer. Plant seeds one to one-and-one-half inches deep.  After the corn sprouts, water regularly. (if we are planting one of the ‘extra-sweet’ varieties, plant only three-quarters of an inch deep)

Corn is wind-pollinated, so we need to plant it in blocks of rows rather than in a long, single row.  Such a long row would result in poor pollen distribution and many skipped kernels.

To harvest an ear, grab hold of it and bend it down then pull toward the ground with a twisting motion and cook it immediately.

Do we want to grow a true ‘All American’ dish?  Then plant succotash.

When our corn is about a foot high, plant our favorite climbing bean right beside it.  The growing corn then becomes the support pole for the beans.  Saves garden space too. (I prefer lima beans)

For more information about growing sweet corn

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1 Comment

  • eiffel says:

    We grew a block of sweetcorn one year in northern England. The plants grew high and looked luxurious. The crop was absolutely delicious, but each cob grew to only an inch long by the end of the season (2.5cm). At that size, they were so tender that we ate them whole; no need to remove the kernels from the cob.

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