It’s the new year, which means in a couple months it’ll be time to plant your garden. If you were to ask any established backyard gardener about the best reason to grow a garden, you are most definitely going to get the same answer four out of five times: Sweet corn. Corn can take up a lot of space in a garden, but it is without a doubt, one of the best things you can grow. When it is freshly picked, it is amazing.
If you want to grow good sweet corn, you are going to want to have some rapid growth, enough rain and nutrients, as well as timing the harvesting at the right time! No one wants a white ear of corn.that is stiff when it should be a little darker and full of flavor. That is not to say that sweet corn cannot be white.
Sweet corn is basically white, yellow, or a mixture of both. The reason that you want to cook the corn as soon as possible after harvest, is that the sweet sucrose in the corn will turn all sorts of starchy, and takes away the sweet factor of it. This is also true sometimes if you refrigerate or freeze the corn before you cook it.
Corn basically has both male and female flowers on the corn plant. These flowers are actually in different locations, believe it or not. The male flowers are the tassel that grows at the top of the corn plant, and the female flower is at the junction between the leaves and the stem. This eventually, is the silky hair like strands in the husks of the ears. The idea is that pollen from the tassels will blow onto the ears, and with each silk leading to a kernel, pollen lands on the silks and this will basically “fill out” all the kernels. sometimes, you get some skips in the ears of corn, and this would indicate poor pollination. There are many different reasons for this. I would recommend that you plant the corn close enough that this does not become an issue.
The other tip I can give you for corn is lots of nitrogen, and lots of water, especially in the beginning. If you can grow them in an area that had peas or beans in previous years, this will contribute to a healthy nitrogen level for the corn. Manure and compost is another good idea.
You will want to plant the seeds about 12 inches apart(at most) and your rows should be about three feet apart. The seeds generally, with a few exceptions, should be about 1.5 inches deep. The more of a block you can make, the better. 10 Short rows is better than 5 long rows, if you catch my drift. This helps with pollination.
Hopefully this is a good start to getting your own sweet corn crop going! Let us know how it goes!