Sweet Corn

Grow your own corn on the cob in your backyard! All you need is a little knowledge and a lot of sunlight. It is best to grow sweet corn close together, which provides shelter from the wind and depending on the amount of corn you want to grow; they will not take up a lot of space in your garden.


Fact: Sweet corn is considered a grass.


Types of sweet corn:

There are several varieties of sweet corn, some are sweeter and some have smaller kernels. What type you plant will depend on your individual tastes.

How to plant:
Sweet corn has a long growing season, therefore you will want to plant your seeds as early as possible, but avoid planting when conditions are cold and wet. Sweet corn needs a lot of sunlight to grow and their seeds should be planted when the soil has reached at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

When sowing your seed indoors, plant them about 1-1 1/2 inches deep and 14-18 inches apart. Once your sweet corn has grown to be about three inches tall, you can transplant them into your garden. You will not need to water your sweet corn when you first plant them in the ground, only water once the plants start flowering and then when the cobs start to grow larger.


Common Problems:
The main problem you will have with your sweet corn is wildlife, such as birds, raccoons, mice and squirrels, consuming your crop. There are several ways to prevent this from happening, you can net off your entire crop or encase each cob by cutting off an end of a soft drink bottle and placing it over the cob.


Harvest Time:
When the silks at the top of the sweet corn plant start to turn brown or black, the cobs are ready to be harvested. You can check the ripeness of the cobs by peeling back the leaves and pricking a kernel with your fingernail. If you see a milky liquid the cob is ripe, but if you see a clear liquid, the cob will need more time to grow.

Once the cobs are ready to be harvested, you can break them off by pulling down on the cob with one hand while holding the stem with your other. Remember, you should eat sweet corn right after harvesting or the corn will not taste as sweet.



- Text Copyright ©Alan Buckingham 2008. DK Edition. Growing Vegetables.