Growing Corn For The Sweetest, Plumpest Ears

Growing corn is practically an American tradition. Corn has actually been grown in our country for thousands of years.

And for excellent reason. Corn is extremely healthy containing numerous vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants. You can consume it fresh, cook it, preserve it, and grind it into flour.

If you’ve never bitten into a sweet, juicy ear of homegrown corn, then you’re actually losing out!

Fresh homegrown sweet corn is better than what you can purchase the shop. Consume your garden fresh corn raw, straight off the stalk or grill it for a tasty summertime reward.

In this post, I’m going to reveal you a couple of suggestions and techniques for planting sweet corn in your garden and reveal you what to do to make sure you get the sweetest, plumpest ears.

Learn everything you need to know about growing corn.

Things initially: understand what kind of corn you’re growing

When you’re growing corn is making sure you get the ideal kind of corn seed, one of the most crucial aspects to think about.

Corn is one of the most typically grown GMO crops in our country. The majority of house gardeners will not need to fret about accidentally growing GMO corn in their garden, however if you live near large corn fields it’s likely the corn grown there is genetically customized unless it’s a certified natural farm.

There is a possibility that GMO pollen might get on your corn plants because corn is wind pollinated. For the purposes of home gardeners, I would not fret about it. If you’re a certified organic farmer thinking about including corn to your farm, then it’s absolutely something you need to consider.

Aside from the GMO element, you need to make sure you’re growing the best type of corn.

There’s sweet corn for fresh consuming and cooking, popping corn for popping, field corn used to make flour and other food items, and ornamental corns.

Field Corn

Understood as dent corn and flint corn, field corn is corn grown for animal cornmeal, corn, and feed syrup among other things. It’s also the kind of corn planted in corn mazes .

Farmers plant entire fields of this kind of corn and harvest it after the plants are dead and the ears have dried. It can be eaten if selected when ripe and eaten right now, but this type of corn is not as sweet as sweet corn.

The sugars in this type of corn are connected together in chains forming starches. The long chains of sugars do not taste as sweet to us, but they are an excellent source of sluggish release nutrition for stock, and the starchiness is fantastic for making cornmeal and cornstarch.

Sweet Corn

Sweet corn is a naturally occurring mutation of field corn in which the sugars are not linked together to form starches so the flavor is sweeter. Nevertheless, the sugars start transforming to starch and the sweetness starts to fade as quickly as the ear is selected from the plant.

To fight this, farmers have been breeding sweet corn for higher sugar material and improved service life for many years. A lot of the popular varieties of sweet corn are hybrid varieties.

This is not the same thing as genetically modified, and you shouldn’t worry about needing to avoid planting hybrid sweet corn seed. Check out about hybrid plants here .

Some types of corn are bred to be very duper sweet, some are simply extremely sweet, and some are reproduced to hold on to that sweetness longer. They’re also bred for enhanced vigor, disease, and production and insect resistance.

Popping and Ornamental Corn

Popping corn is a starchy corn with a tough kernel shell, and, like field corn, it is gathered after the plants have actually died and the ears have dried up.

Decorative corn is a starchy corn that is likewise grown for its look. The corn may be red, purple, striped, or multi-colored. Often the stalks of these plants are also decorative.

brightly colored ornamental corn

Side note about the various kinds of corn

Every variety has a different taste and purpose. Any kind of corn can be consumed when it’s soft and fresh, and any kind can be ground down to cornmeal when it’s hard and dry. You can even try to pop any dried corn

The different varieties and kinds of corn work best for their specific functions. It’s actually all just corn.

This is not a recommendation that you begin growing field corn for fresh consuming. You can if you want to, however it’s not going to taste like sweet corn.

If you utilize sweet corn for cornmeal, be prepared to account for the increased sugar material in the flour.

Tips for buying corn seed

These are red striped corn kernels. Corn comes in all sorts of colors!

These are red striped corn kernels. Corn is available in all sorts of colors!

More Gardening Ideas & Resources



The very best advice for selecting the best corn seed for your garden is to understand what you want and needs, then checked out the descriptions of the varieties in your seed catalog to ensure that type fits your needs.

We buy our seeds from Johnny’s Baker Creek, and. Burpee . We choose natural, unattended seeds, however you can get seeds that are pre-treated with fungicide and pesticides.

You can even utilize a bag of deer corn for planting, but don’t anticipate terrific germination. Deer corn is field corn and may have been sprayed with herbicides and pesticides when it was growing. So keep these things in mind as well.

Can you grow corn from an ear of corn?

Sure. Probably.

Corn seeds are truly just dried corn kernels. So you can attempt growing corn from an ear of corn. Simply let the ear dry and plant the kernels.

Some things to think about when looking for corn seed

  • Just how much space do you have to grow corn?

You desire to make sure you enable plenty of space in your garden for growing corn due to the fact that most varieties of corn make only one or 2 ears per stalk.

If you do not have a lot of area, try to find varieties that make up to 4 ears of corn per plant.

Uncertain how much corn to plant? My. garden preparation spreadsheets. can help you out.

  • The length of time is your growing season?

Corn is a warm weather crop that will not tolerate frost. Depending on the variety, corn can be prepared to collect anywhere from 60 to 90 days after planting.

Make certain you examine the time between your last frost date in the spring and your first frost date in the fall to know the length of your growing season.

Plant your corn after the last opportunity of frost. You can plant more corn every 10 days up until 60-90 days before your very first frost. Simply make sure the range you’re growing will have time to ripen before it gets too cold.

  • How are you planning to utilize your corn?

Examine the descriptions of the corn variety to ensure it will suit your requirements. You might discover yourself disappointed if you plant a vibrant popping corn however are expecting sweet corn.

  • Do you need illness resistant ranges?

If you have actually grown corn before and had difficulty with cutworms, wilt, or smut, attempt growing a range resistant to these illness.

We’re growing. Country Gentlemen a heirloom shoe-peg range, that can make 3 or more ears per stalk. The irregular kernel pattern on this variety is beautiful, but it’s not a very sweet type corn.

Country Gentlemen ear of corn

Our Country Gentlemen ears of corn. Some had the straight rows instead of the shoe-peg pattern we anticipated!

How To Grow Corn In The House

Now that you have your seed, it’s time to talk about how to grow corn. The first step in growing corn is getting it planted. There are a few suggestions you should understand prior to you get going.

Follow these tips for planting corn

Where to plant corn

Choose a warm area safeguarded from strong gusts of wind

Try to find your corn where it will get at least 8 hours of sunshine per day. Even the knee-high stalks of corn can be put down by a strong gust of wind, so make certain to avoid parts of your property that get one of the most wind if you can.

Since corn stalks are prone to falling over, it’s a great concept to ‘hill-up’ your corn plants when they are a few inches high. Hilling up is the term we use for pushing dirt up a couple inches around the stalk. This motivates the stalk to put out more roots to help support the stalk.

Take an appearance at this video so you can see what I imply.

Enjoy the weather condition

Corn is not tolerant of frost so make certain you plant after the extremely last chance of frost. If needed, Use plastic mulch to increase the soil temperature level to a minimum of 60 degrees F.

If you see a few rainy days ahead, it’s a terrific idea to head out and get your seeds in the ground. Seeds will need water to grow, so why not let Nature help you get your garden begun?

Don’t plant your seeds too deep

Planting too deep can make corn seed prone to cooler temperature levels and seed-corn maggots. Plant your corn 1 inch deep. If it’s currently hot, you can increase it up to 2 inches deep.

Direct seed this crop. Do not begin your seeds inside your home

Starting seeds indoors to get a get on the growing season does not work well for corn. It just will not tolerate its shallow roots being disturbed for transplanting.

Even utilizing soil blocks, it didn’t work well for us. If you need to attempt it, then make sure to use an eco-friendly starting container that can be planted in your garden to decrease root trauma at transplanting.

Plant your corn in blocks for finest germination

Plant corn seeds every 12 inches in blocks of short rows. This will help with full pollination of your ears. In order to comprehend why you need to plant corn in blocks, it helps to take an appearance at corn anatomy.

You know those little hairs that stand out of an ear of corn? Every one of those is linked to a private kernel of corn.

Every private kernel has to be pollinated to get a full, plump ear of corn. The pollen is formed in the tassel situated at the top of the plant.

Anatomy of a corn plant

Have you ever opened an ear of corn and discovered missing out on kernels? That is due to inadequate pollination.

Your corn plant relies primarily on the wind for pollination of the ears of corn. By organizing your corn crop in blocks, you make sure that each ear is surrounded by multiple plants as sources of pollen.

Don’t plant various kinds of corn next to each other

Due to the fact that corn is wind-pollinated, various kinds of corn that are planted next to each other WILL cross-pollinate. Pollen from field, popping, ornamental, or perhaps different ranges of sweet corn can modify the taste and texture of your sweet corn.

To avoid cross pollination, a range of 500 feet between varieties is recommended. So in a yard garden, you might need to pick simply one type of corn to grow.

Corn plant care ideas

  • Fertilizing corn plants: Corn is a heavy feeder in the garden. Amend your soil with garden compost at planting and provide a natural fish meal. fertilizer. when the stalks are 6 inches and 2 feet tall.
  • Use mulch to reduce weeds: Corn plants do not like having to take on weeds, specifically in the first couple of weeks. When eliminating weeds, be careful not to disturb the plant’s shallow roots.
  • Supporting corn stalks: When your corn plants are 6-12 inches tall, mound some soil up around the base of your plant. This is called hilling up, and it assists your corn stalk hold up against wind pressure.
  • Watering corn plants: when your corn stalks begin to tassel, make certain they have a lot of water. About an inch each week throughout pollination will assist guarantee fuller ears. Water at the base to prevent rinsing the pollen off the tassels.
  • Should you prune corn? No. Do not prune corn plants.

Growing Sweet Corn Issues

Typical corn insects

Cutworms are a common pest of corn plants. They feed upon the leaves and stalk of corn plants making holes and can trigger the plant to collapse.

Earworms and armyworms can infest the ears of corn and are frequently discovered chomping away at the suggestion of the ear. Finding a worm inside an ear of corn should not be cause for alarm. Simply cut off the destroyed part and consume the rest.

Worms eating kernels of corn

If you find worms in your ears of corn, simply kill them and eliminate the afflicted portion. The rest of the ear is completely edible.

European corn borers will eat the leaves and bore into the ears, and cucumber beetle larvae like to feed on corn roots.

Organic pest control alternatives: You can prevent or reduce worms in your corn by applying. Bt a soil-borne bacteria utilized for organic pest control, and. spinosad a naturally occurring pesticide.

Growing corn can likewise draw in birds, raccoons, and deer that can chew on your growing plants and ears. A great tall or electric fence can help hinder deer. Human hair, scarecrows, and flags can likewise make your cornfield less appealing to animal insects.

Diseases of corn

You may find that you need to handle some illness issues when you grow corn.

Corn smut

This infection is a fungal disease of corn which triggers bluish swollen kernels of corn that are filled with spores. Remove them so they do not spread the fungus if you discover these blue-black galls on your corn.

In Mexico, these fungal galls are a delicacy known as. huitlacoche. .

Image of corn kernels swollen from corn smut

A couple of kernels in this ear were infected with corn smut fungus.

We always have a couple of ears that get infected, so we chose to try it this year. My husband prepared it with garlic and served it as a side meal with supper.

It tasted type of like corn but likewise had an earthy-mushroom taste. The texture was not my preferred thing. We had actually never ever tried to prepare with it prior to so it might taste better when prepared by somebody more familiar with it.

Bacterial wilt in corn

Bacterial wilt is another common illness of corn. Young plants the get infected may wilt and die. Older plants infected with wilt develop yellow streaks or spots on the leaves and whole leaves might turn brown and pass away.

The very best practice for controlling diseases of corn is to practice great crop rotation and plant resistant ranges. Disease resistant ranges of corn might establish signs of disease however will continue to grow and produce ears of corn in spite of infection.

Keeping and harvesting Corn

Sweet corn is ready to harvest about 3 weeks after the silks appear. To see if your corn is ready to harvest, peel back the suggestion of the husk and pierce a kernel with your thumbnail.

Your corn is at the perfect phase for harvesting if you get a spurt of milky substance. Eat it or protect it as quickly as possible to keep the very best flavor.

young girl eating fresh homegrown corn

You need to try eating your corn straight off the stalk. It’s scrumptious!

When the silks are dried and the husk is pale, the corn is past its prime for fresh eating. Leave the ear on the stalk up until it is dried out if you want to harvest it for cornmeal.

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Your freshly gathered corn tastes best in the very first 24 hr, so go on and prepare or protect it as quickly as possible.

You can save corn in the husk in your fridge for as much as 3 days. Corn can also be frozen, canned, dehydrated, and fermented.

Examine out these links for more details about each approach of saving corn.

Tips for freezing corn.

How to can corn.

Dehydrating corn.

Lacto-fermented corn relish.

Sour corn.

Summing it up

I know this is a long post, and I’ve spoken about a lot of different things. I believed it would be great to end this post with a fast summary of my best.ideas for growing corn.

  1. Select the best range. Check out the descriptions of each range in your seed brochure to ensure you’re getting one that works for your growing season and taste preferences. SH2 hybrid corn ranges are the sweetest sweet corn varieties.
  2. Don’t plant various ranges or kinds of corn beside each other. They’ll cross pollinate, which will impact the flavor and texture of the end item.
  3. Plant your corn in blocks, not long rows. Make sure you get the sweetest, plumpest ears this summertime by planting a.minimum of 4 rows of 4 plants each.
  4. Make sure your corn plants get appropriate water, particularly after the silks and tassels appear. One inch per week is the recommended amount.
  5. Corn is a heavy feeder in the garden. Plant your corn in fertile soil and/or add fertilizer a minimum of twice throughout their growing season.
  6. If you have actually had trouble growing corn before, pick disease and bug resistant varieties.

If you have sufficient space, you must certainly include corn to your garden this year. Homegrown corn is right up there with a homegrown tomato for summer season’s finest fruit and vegetables..

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