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How to Plant and Grow Corn

How to Plant and Grow Corn


While the rush is on in early spring to get the vegetable seeds planted in the garden, you can take your time about planting corn. Warm soil speeds up the germination process and once the corn seed has germinated, it will quickly reach its mature stalk height and produce a couple ears of corn. Use these tips for planting and growing corn in your home garden.

Sunny Location
Select a location that is in full sun. Corn will not tolerate any shade, not even partial shade. If the stalks are shaded, the ears will be small and deformed.

Soil Preparation
Corn is a very heavy feeder and drinker, so you want to keep the soil well fed and moist so it can support fast-growing corn stalks. Apply a 6 inch layer of compost to the top of garden soil and work it in to the depth of 6 inches.
This will provide nutrients for the corn and promote good drainage for the soil.

Planting Corn
Wait until the soil is above 62 degrees Fahrenheit 3 inches below ground level before planting corn. Waiting will ensure fast germination and no late frost damage.

Create 1-inch deep furrows or holes in a straight line 8 inches apart in the prepared garden soil. Place 1 seed in each hole or 8 inches apart in the furrows. The space between the rows depends on how the garden is cultivated. Space corn rows 30 inches apart when cultivating with a tiller, 20 inches apart if you cultivate by hand.

Cover the seeds with 1 inch of soil, water well and wait. In a few days you will see what appears to be blades of grass emerging from the soil.

All corn planted at the same time will be ready to harvest at the same time. This is what you want when planning on preserving some for future use. However, if you want to enjoy fresh corn throughout the summer you will need to use a method called ‘succession planting’.

To succession plant, plant a few seeds every 2 weeks from late spring until mid-summer. The ears of corn will ripen 10-14 days apart and provide a continual summer harvest. Ears are ready to harvest when the blonde silks turn brown.

After Care
Apply a 2-inch layer of mulch or compost to the soil after the corn stalks reach 8 inches tall. The mulch will prevent weeds, retain soil moisture and helps keep corn fed.
Water weekly during times of little or no rainfall.