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How to Grow Sweet Corn

Nothing says summer like eating fresh corn on the cob. And you can grow it even if you're limited on space. Here's how to get started.

Nothing defines the height of summer like eating fresh corn on the cob. A small plot of land can reap a bountiful harvest of sweet corn, and there are even some varieties bred specifically to be grown in containers for those short on space.

How To Plant Sweet Corn

Start: Plant seeds directly outdoors, 2 weeks after last frost. Plant in rows 2-3’ apart. Space seeds 5-6” apart and cover with 1” of soil. When seedlings are 3-5” tall and healthy, thin to stand 1’ apart.

Water: Corn grows fast and needs plenty of water, 1-2” inches per week. During dry times, one or two deep soakings per week is more effective than several lighter waterings.

Soil: Corn prefers a well-drained, sandy loam. pH 5.8-6.8

Light: Full sun.

Fertilize: Corn is a heavy feeder and needs ample fertilization. Using compost or an all-purpose fertilizer at planting will get the corn off to a good start, but the corn will soon deplete the nutrients in the soil. Side dress the plants with a nitrogen-rich fertilizer when the plants have about ten leaves each and again when silk first appears on the cobs.

Harvest: Ears are ready to harvest about 20 days after the silks emerge. Pierce a kernel to check for ripeness. The juice should be milky. Watery juice means the corn is not yet ripe; creamy juice is overripe and won’t be as sweet. Firmly grip the ear and twist downward to harvest. Be careful not to damage the stalk as that may result in the second ear not developing.

Notes: Make sure to devote a large enough space for your corn patch, at least 10’ by 10’, as corn is wind-pollinated. And get the seeds started as soon as possible.

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This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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Tony

When do I plant in Imperial county,Ca winter crops what types in my planters?

Tony

When do I plant winter corn and winter crops in Imperial county,Ca

Tony

When do I plant sweet winter corn ?

Phillip Asbury Teaguedi

Is May 2 a good time to plant sweet corn?

bridgette wood

I want to make sure the ear worms don’t eat my corn, what can I use to keep this pest out of my ears of corn?

mary garrett

Sevin dust when you see the silk

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