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.