Sweet corn is a warm-season annual that is commonly planted directly in the garden. It can be started early indoors in individual containers in very short-season regions.
Sow early varieties in the garden 2 weeks after the last frost. Sow mid- and late-season varieties 2 weeks later. The soil should be at least 50°F for good germinations. Seeds planted too early may rot. Seeds germinate in 7 to 10 days.
Start seeds indoors in short-season regions 4 weeks before setting out. Corn does not transplant easily. Be careful not to disrobe the roots, otherwise, growth can be checked.
For a continuous harvest, plant early-, mid-, and late-season varieties together in the garden. Make successive sowings every 3 to 4 weeks up to three months before the first expected fall frost.
Grow corn in loose, well-drained, humus-rich soil. Corn is a heavy feeder and needs high amounts of nitrogen and phosphorus and moderate amounts of potassium. Corn is shallow rooted so mulch to conserve soil moisture and keep down weeds.
Corn is ready for harvest when kernels are plump and full of milky liquid. The silks should be brown and feel damp to the touch. To test corn for harvest, pull one of the leaves partially down the ear and press a fingernail into a kernel; if milk spurts out, the ear is ripe.
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Corn planting dates
(These dates are for the Northern Hemisphere)
|Average date of the last frost||Planting dates|
|Jan. 30||Feb. 1-Mar. 15|
|Feb. 8||Feb. 10-Apr. 1|
|Feb. 18||Feb. 20-Apr. 15|
|Feb. 28||Mar. 1-Apr. 15|
|Mar. 10||Mar. 10-Apr. 15|
|Mar. 20||Mar. 15-May 1|
|Mar. 30||Mar. 25-May 15|
|Apr. 10||Apr. 10-June 1|
|Apr. 20||Apr. 25-June 15|
|Apr. 30||May 10-June 15|
|May 10||May 10-June 1|
|May 20||May 15-June 1|
|May 30||May 20-June 1|
Corn planting details
- Sowing depth: 1-2 inches (2.5-5cm)
- Space between plant after thinning: 9-12 inches (22-30cm)
- Days to sprout: 7
- Days to harvest: 65-95
- Storage period: 7-10 refrigerated
- Seeds per 100 row feet: ¼ pounds
- Yield per 100 row feet: 100 ears
- Suggest varieties: (Early, 60-65 days) Golden Midget, Seneca, Early Sunglow. (Midseason, 70-75 days) Golden Beauty, Early Xtra Sweet, Early Golden Bantam, Kandy Korn, Gold Rush. (Main crop or late varieties, 80-100 days) Golden Bantam, Illini Extra Sweet, Golden Cross Bantam, Country Gentleman, Silver Queen, Stowell’s Evergreen.
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