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Sweet Corn Planting Guide

Sweet Corn Planting Guide

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 Grow Sweet Corn

Start: Plant seeds directly outdoors 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.

Helpful Corn Growing Links

Farmer’s Almanac Gardening By the Moon Calendar

Companion Planting: 10 Veggies That Should Grow Together

Growing Your Own Popcorn

Corn Recipes, Tips & Folklore

Delicious and Different Corn on the Cob Recipes

Cooking Vegetables: When Should You Boil The Water?

Weather Lore: Knee-High by the Fourth of July

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  • bridgette wood says:

    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?

  • If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

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