How To Grow Sweet Corn In The Garden

corn-stalks
Image by Danelle Bailey

By Kathee Mierzejewski

Sweet corn plants are definitely a warm season crop. These warm season vegetables are easy to grow in any garden. You can plant either sweet corn plants or super sweet corn plants. You just don’t want to grow them together because they don’t do well.

So what’s the difference between growing traditional field corn and growing sweet corn? The taste. Many people grow corn, but what is known as field corn has a starchier flavor and a slightly harder cob. Sweet corn, on the other hand, is softer and has a pleasantly sweet taste.

Planting sweet corn is fairly easy and not much different than growing traditional corn. Practicing proper planting will keep it growing healthy throughout the summer so you can be eating fresh corn on the cob in no time.

How to Grow Sweet Corn

You want to be sure when planting sweet corn that the soil is warm – at least above 55 degrees F. If you plant super sweet corn, you want to be sure the soil is at least 65 degrees F., as they prefer a warmer climate.

The best way how to grow sweet corn is to plant an early variety near the beginning of the season, and then wait a couple weeks to plant another early variety and then plant a later variety. This will help you to have fresh sweet corn to eat all summer long.

Planting Sweet Corn

When planting sweet corn, you want to plant the seeds a half an inch deep in cool, moist soil, and at least one to one and a half inches deep in warm, dry soil. Corn plants need to be planted 12 inches apart and there should be at least 30 to 36 inches between rows. This protects the plants from cross-pollination if you have planted different varieties.

When growing sweet corn, it is important to note that you can plant different varieties, but you don’t want them near each other. If you cross sweet corn plants with other varieties of corn, you can get starchy corn, which is something  you don’t want.

You can cultivate the corn rows shallowly, so you do not injure the roots. Make sure you water the corn if there has been no rain so they get enough moisture.

Picking Sweet Corn

Picking sweet corn is easy enough to do. Each stalk of sweet corn should produce at least one ear of corn. This ear of corn is ready to pick about 20 days after you see signs of the first silk growing. In order to pick the corn, just grab the ear, twist and pull in a downward motion, and snap it off quickly. Some stalks will grow a second ear, but it will be ready at a later date.

Sweet corn requires little care. It’s one of the easiest plants to grow in a garden and sweet corn plants almost always do well. You will be enjoying sweet corn in no time!

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