Planting Sweet Corn

How to sucessfully plant and grow sweet corn?

Depending on the cultivar, sweet corn needs 60-100 warm days to grow and requires 8 to 10 hours of full sun, good drainage and lots of room.

Planting corn
Once the soil warms up, plant seeds 1-2 inches deep, in groups or hills with 3-4 seeds in them. Space the hills about 1 1/2 ft apart. Seeds may also be sown in single rows of 9 inches apart, spacing 2 to 3 feet between rows, with a minimum of 4 rows to assure cross pollination. Corn is a heavy feeder and needs ample nutrients to produce, therefore, before planting, apply 10-10-10 fertilizer at the rate of 1 1/2 pounds per 100 square feet to the soil. When the corn gets about 1 1/2 feet tall, again side-dress with 10-10-10. When the plants start tasseling and silking, make sure it gets at least one inch of water per week. Do not allow wilting at this time as it will affect pollination and kernel development.

Harvesting corn
Harvest when silks begin to turn brown and dry. Fresh and tender corn kernels will exude a milky liquid when split open. This occurs about 20 days after the first silk strands appear. Each cornstalk should produce one to two ears.  Pick before the racoons and grackles find out that your corn is ready. They find it irresistible and so will you! The ears should be eaten as soon as possible, or refrigerated for a few days. Once picked, the sugars decrease rapidly and starch content increases. For best flavor, have a pot of boiling water ready and then pick your corn.  Sweet corn is well worth the effort once you taste the fresh picked ears.