How to Grow Corn February 10 2014

A member of the grass family, the biggest challenge with growing corn is usually the space it requires. However, the flavor of fresh picked corn from your own garden simply can’t be beat.


Plan to plant three varieties, if the season and space allows: early, mid, and late season varieties. Or, for an extended harvest, make plantings every week, for several weeks.


Gardening tip for growing corn: Consider growing corn with pumpkins and beans to save space in your garden. Don't plant corn near tomatoes.


Nutrition Information
Dietary Fiber, Chromium, Manganese, Magnesium, Potassium, Selenium, Vitamin C, Thiamin, Folate, Phosphorus


Climate & Growing Conditions
Corn prefers warm/hot climates and doesn’t tolerate frost. Growing corn requires full sun. Wind breaks are helpful also (planting several rows together helps with support).


Prepare the Garden Soil
Prepare the garden bed for corn by digging in poultry manure at least two weeks ahead of planting. The pH level of the garden soil should be between 5.5-7.0 for growing corn.


Planting
Your first planting of corn should be two weeks after spring's last frost. For growing corn, the garden soil needs to be 60+ degrees (F) to germinate.


Prepare short rows, spaced 2 feet apart. Dig the trenches 10” deep, then line with a complete fertilizer (or compost) and cover with 4” of soil. Space the kernels 10” apart. Fill the trench with soil. Keep the soil moist (but not soggy). Seedlings should appear within two weeks.


Poor pollination (ears with few kernels) is a common problem these days when growing corn. To help nature along, plant in blocks of at least three rows with 2’ of space between each row.


If planting several varieties, allow sufficient space between varieties to prevent cross-pollination (mixing of the varieties).


Watering
When growing corn, keep the garden soil moist (but not soggy). Avoid watering the tassels.


Note: Do not water from top down, this disturbs the pollination cycle of the corn.


Fertilizing
Fertilize throughout the growing stage with a fertilizer high in nitrogen and phosphate.


Gardening Challenges
Corn earworm, corn borer, cutworm, aphids, birds and raccoons.


Harvesting
Corn matures in 3 months, when the kernels are plump and milky. To test, crush a kernel with your fingernail and look at the resulting liquid. If clear, the plant is not ready yet for harvest.


The average plant will grow 1 to 2 ears of corn per stalk.