A Guide on Planting, Growing, and Harvesting Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn Guide

The seeds of sweet corn can be white, yellow, or a combination of both colours, while the plant itself is a fragile annual crop that grows during the warm season. To successfully cultivate and harvest maize, there must be a lengthy growing season that is free of frost (between 60 and 100 days).

Sweet corn is a plant that is indigenous to the Americas and has been grown for hundreds of years. Beans, corn, and squash are known as the Three Sisters because Native Indians grew all three of these crops.

Corn, which belongs to the family Fabaceae (Poaceae), is dependent on the wind for the pollination of its blooms. Because of this, we grow corn in groups of shorter rows rather than in single, extremely long rows.

Types of Sweet Corn

Sweet Corn Types

There are early-season, mid-season, and late-season kinds of corn. The ripening time for early-season types is often the shortest, whereas late-season kinds could require the entire growth season. Planting multiple cultivars with varying “days to maturity” will allow for a longer harvest period.

Sugary (su), shrunken (sh, sh2), sugar-enhanced (se), and synergistic hybrid sweet corn are the 4 most common varieties (sy). Each variety has a unique concentration of sucrose, which results in a distinct modification of both the taste and the consistency of the corn. The sweetness of sweeter kinds will also be maintained for a longer period of time after harvesting.

Planting Corn

How to Plant Corn

Grow in direct sunshine (6-8 hours of sunlight minimum). Corn plants are very particular about the soil in which they grow. Corn has a tendency to drink an excessive amount of water, thus the soil needs to have good drainage while still remaining constantly moist.

The incorporation of old manure or compost into the soil during the fall season is recommended for optimal results. In the event that this cannot be done, just incorporate some aged compost into the soil before planting.

When to Plant Corn

  • Beginning maize seedlings inside is not a practise that is typically suggested. It is advisable to begin them straight in the field so that the delicate roots of the plants are not disturbed when they are transplanted.
  • Corn is extremely prone to frost damage; do not plant until the temperature of the soil is at minimum 60 degrees degrees Fahrenheit (16 degrees Celsius), or 65 degrees Fahrenheit (18 degrees Celsius) for super-sweet types. In the spring, this occurs typically two to three weeks after the final frost. Due to the fact that maize requires a lengthy growing season that is free of frost, it is essential to sow early. Check out the typical occurrences of frost as well as our planting schedule for corn depending on the dates of the last frost. (Keep in mind that these dates are just a guide and represent the average or typical situation).
  • If you reside in a region where the growing season is shorter, select an initial kind that will reach maturity prior to the first frost in the fall.
  • In addition, a ground cover made of black plastic can be used to warm the soil in areas with lower average temperatures. Seeds should be planted through small holes in the cover.
  • Plant a second cycle of corn a few weeks after you’ve already put in the first batch in order to lengthen the time between harvests.

How to Prepare and Plant

  • To hasten the process of germination, wet the seeds, then cover them in wet paper towels and keep them in a sack for a full day.
  • Instead of planting the seeds in a single continuous row, plant them about 112 to 2 inches thick and 2-4 inches apart and in short rows that are side-by-side to form a block.
  • A block with a reasonable number of plants, say 10 to 50, is what we propose for adequate pollination.
  • You may decide to treat your corn at the time of planting with a 10-10-10 fertiliser because maize is designed to develop quickly. This stage can be bypassed if you are convinced that the soil possesses the necessary qualities.
  • Before planting, be sure to provide plenty of water.

Growing Sweet Corn

how to grow sweet corn

  • After the young maize plants reach a height of approximately 4 inches, it is time to thin them out so that they are spaced at a distance of between 12 and 18 inches for short types and between 18 and 24 inches for tall varieties.
  • When pulling weeds around the plants, exercise extreme caution so as not to damage the corn’s roots.
  • Corn has relatively shallow roots and, as a result, might suffer from drought stress if it is not well hydrated. It is sufficient to water your plants at a rate of around 2 inches per week; however, you should water more frequently if the weather is particularly hot or if the soil in your garden is sandy. If the soil continues to be dry, you should wet it again.
  • When the plants are around 8 inches tall, side-dress them with a high-nitrogen fertiliser. When it reaches knee height, make another pass (18 inches).
  • Around the plants, mulch can help to limit the amount of evaporation that occurs.
  • When there is a strong wind, mounding the soil around in the base of plants that are 12 inches tall will help keep the plants standing up straight.
  • Pollination by wind is essential for the development of complete cobs and kernels. In order to expedite this process, give the plants’ stalks a light shake once a few times every week for as much as the tassels have life in them. This will improve the likelihood that each silk will be pollinated. The morning is the finest time.


Harvesting Sweet Corn

  • Corn reaches maturity at a faster rate in environments with warmer air. After silking, it is typically ready between 15 and 23 days later but can be harvested earlier if the temperatures are unusually high.
  • When two ears develop on the same stalk, the one on top will reach maturity one to two days before the one on the bottom.
  • When the corn is ready to be harvested, the ears must be spherical or blunt rather than pointed, and the tassels should be turning brown. The kernels should be milky and full.
  • To do the test, remove a portion of the husk and stab a kernel with your fingernail. It is ready when it has a milky or white appearance. When temperatures are high (above 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 29 degrees Celsius), sweet corn is only at its peak for one to two days, so you need to check on it frequently. Corn that is harvested just a few weeks after it has reached the milk state will not have the same level of sweetness.
  • To remove the ears from the stalk, pull them down and twist them.
  • Soon after harvesting, sugary (su) cultivars start to lose their sweetness, thus it is important to use them as soon as you possibly can.
  • After harvesting, quickly prepare the food for consumption or preserve it.
  • In the event that immature corn is exposed to a delayed frost, cobs and the plants may sustain damage, which may lead to the plant’s demise or to corn with an unpleasant flavour.

How to Store Corn

  • It is possible to successfully freeze sweet corn, particularly if it is separated from its ear prior to freezing. Corn can be frozen safely if you know how to do it.
  • Corn can be cultivated for a variety of additional uses as well!

Wit and Wisdom

  • Baby corn is the result of the early harvesting of regular corn plants when the ears are still immature. Baby corn is generated from regular corn plants. It is possible to use varieties of sweet corn such as sugar-enhanced sweet corn, regular sweet corn, and supersweet corn, in addition to a few types that are designed specifically for baby corn.
  • Just few feet above the ground, maize will occasionally sprout what are called aerial roots. They are not designed to take in nutrients or water; rather, they are intended to hold the tall stalk in place.
  • Once it reaches around 24 inches in height, the growth rate of a cornstalk increases to between 3 and 4 inches every day, even in hot conditions.
  • Corn that is sown as the Moon is getting closer to its waning phase is supposed to grow more slowly yet produce larger ears. Discover more about gardening during the phases of the Moon!
  • If your maize shucks with more resistance than normal, you should get ready for a chilly winter.
  • Corn is considered to be a member of the 3 Sisters since it grows in a manner that is complementary to that of squash and beans. Acquaint yourself with the concept of companion planting.
  • Corn is delicious when eaten, but it also has a wide variety of other applications, including medical. Corn is beneficial to natural health; educate yourself on this topic.
  • Find out some more amusing and interesting information about corn.