Who doesn’t love biting into a fresh ear
of corn with butter and salt and pepper or the aroma of fresh baked cornbread
coming out of the oven. Today we’re going to talk about how to grow corn. The most
popular choice for home gardens is of course sweet corn. This is a type you’ll
grow if you want corn on the cob or fresh corn kernels. Sweet corn varieties
come in white yellow or bicolor. Flint corn and dent corn come in a wide
variety of colors and can be used as autumn decorations. Before processing
them for meal, flour, polenta or hominy. Popcorn is another fun choice. Grow your
own traditional yellow or multicolored corn for popping. You might also plant
multiple varieties with different lengths of time until harvest so that
you can enjoy an extended season of fresh corn. If you have enough space you
can plant multiple varieties all in the same bed unless you are saving the seed
from your harvest for next year’s planting. Why don’t you try to plant some
colorful corn as well as sweet corn. That’s what I’m gonna do. Direct seed
your corn two weeks after the last frost date. Your soil temperature needs to be
sixty degrees in order for the corn to germinate. Corn does not transplant well
but if the season is so short that you must start it indoors, plant in
biodegradable pots to avoid disturbing the roots when transplanting. A better
solution is to help the soil warm faster before seeding outdoors by using black
mulch in your garden beds. This will heat the soil faster. Soak the seeds overnight
and you’ll get faster germination. Corn requires full Sun because it grows so
tall and dense. Consider what you will be planting nearby which may be affected by
the shade that it makes. No matter what kind of corn you want to grow it’s all
planted the same way. Prepare your garden bed for planting by
adding plenty of organic matter. Corn is a heavy feeder that needs high nitrogen
fertilizer such as alfalfa or blood meal or cottonseed meal. Another excellent way to fertilize your corn is to plant a legume cover crop in the fall and turn
it under a few weeks before planting the corn. Corn requires being planted in a
cluster for adequate pollination. Instead of planting one long row you should plan
on planting a patch of at least three closely spaced short rows. You will need
at least 16 square feet if you plant at the most dense spacing possible which is
one foot between stalks. Plant them at a depth of one inch with two to three
seeds per hole. And if you would like to use a mechanical tiller between rows you
can increase that space to 36 inches but maintain a 1 foot spacing within rows. If
you plant a little more densely you can thin to about 1 foot between stalks. The
next step is to make sure that you have adequate even watering. Right after we planted the corn about a
month ago, I laid down the drip tape. Drip is the best way to irrigate your corn. It
prevents sprinkler knock down of the stalks. I’m fertilizing with this bio
fish it’s high in nitrogen and corn are heavy feeding plants. So it’s important
to maintain your little corn bed keep it free of weeds. I’m doing a little bit
more thinning. And the weeds love my corn. And you want to give them as much room
without weed penetration as possible. I’m mulching with Mega Mulch and I’m putting it down pretty thick. I want to retain moisture and suppress weeds. I’m looking forward to harvesting at the end of summer and having a nice corn barbecue. Corn earworms, corn borers and other
caterpillars can get inside of your ears of corn and do a little bit of damage. If
you put a clothespin right on the corn ear just below the silk as soon as the
silk has formed you can prevent them from damaging your crop. With good care your corn should produce
two ears per stock and to harvest just push down on the ear and twist. Sweet corn should be eaten or preserved
within three days of harvest. If you can’t do that you should blanch them and
freeze them until you’re ready to preserve or eat them. Dry corns should be
left on the stock until just before the first frost. If you’re in a damp climate
you can harvest the ears and stack them in a cool dry place. So grow some organic
corn and grow organic for life!