Tips for Planting and Harvesting Sweet Corn in Your Home Garden

Tips for Planting and Harvesting Sweet Corn in Your Home Garden

Although there are many different types of corn such as ornamental, miniature and popcorn, this page is about growing sweet corn. If you’ve never tried it, let me tell you that there is nothing better than the taste of an ear of corn, pulled straight from your garden.

The most important thing for the home gardener to remember when planting sweet corn is that it takes up a lot of space in the garden. Corn plants can grow anywhere from four to nine feet tall and the yield from each plant is extremely low for such a huge crop, usually only two ears per stalk. In my humble opinion, the taste is definitely worth it but if your garden is on the small side, you may want to plant something else and buy your fresh corn at the local farmer’s market.

Another way to save space in your garden while planting sweet corn is to incorporate it in with some other vegetables. A good example of this is the Three Sisters Garden, where corn, squash and beans support and compliment each other beautifully.

How to Plant Corn

Choose a large spot in your garden that receives plenty of sunshine and has rich, well-draining soil.

When growing sweet corn it is best to start seeds directly into the garden after the dangers of frost have passed and the soil has had a chance to warm up a bit.

Soak your seeds in water overnight before planting them to give them a bit of a head start because the drier the seeds, the longer they will take to germinate.

Plant the seeds about 5 inches apart in rows with at least two feet between them. When the seedlings emerge, thin them to about 12 inches apart.

Corn needs a lot of water, at least one to two inches per week. A dry spell can stunt its growth so be very careful about watering during the hottest days of the summer.

Harvesting Sweet Corn

Your sweet corn will be ready to harvest about 18 days after the silks appear at the end of the husks. To remove the corn from its stalk, simply give the ear a good hard twist and it should snap right off.

The closer to cooking time that you harvest your corn, the better it will taste.

Fresh corn can be cooked in many ways including boiled, grilled and steamed. It tastes great on it’s own, with a little salt and butter, or when used in corn recipes.