How to Grow Sweet Corn
By Linda Paquette
Purchased corn, whether on the cob or in a can can?t compare for taste!
Sweet corn is easy to grow in the flower and fruit gardening guides home garden with just a little know how
and a few corn facts.
- Corn needs warm soil temperatures (50? - 65? Fahrenheit) to germinate.
- Warm temperatures cause sugars in corn to turn into starches and
results in loss of sweetness and creamy texture. Sugars also begin
converting to starches immediately after harvest.
- Sweet corn is divided into three types according to its sweetness:
(SU) normal sugary or standard sweet corn, (SE) sugary enhanced, and (Sh2)
Yes I think growing Sweet Corn is a very interesting experiment in
Standard Sweet Corn (SU)
Normal sugary is the traditional variety of sweet corn. Less sweet than the
other types, it will tolerate low temperatures at planting time.
Sugary Enhanced (SE)
(SE) corn is the preferred choice of many of today?s flower and fruit gardening guides home gardeners. Sugary
enhanced is sweeter than standard corn and retains sweetness longer than
either of the other types. While not as sweet as super sweet, it has a
creamier texture and tolerates lower soil temperatures.
Super sweet (Sh2) kernels differ from the other two types of sweet corn by
their shriveled, small appearance. Although the sweetest of the three, (Sh2)
needs a soil temperature of at least 65? F to germinate. Another drawback of
(Sh2) is that its texture is drier and its sugars more rapidly convert to
starch after harvest.
Sow your seed in a very rich garden soil and give it access to ample
moisture. Because corn is a high-nitrogen feeder, even the best soils may
need to the addition of aged manure or nutrient rich compost to produce an
Plant corn in two or more rows for pollination to be successful. Plant
kernels in hills of three, spaced about a foot a part with rows three feet
apart. Plant kernels from one to 1 ? inches deep or ? inch deep for super
sweet types. After germination, preserve the most robust plant in each hill,
discarding any other seedlings that have sprouted.
Water rows well after planting, especially in the case of super sweet
kernels, which need to absorb more water to germinate. Keep plants well
watered throughout the growing season. Corn needs moisture in order to form
tassels and silk and to develop healthy ears.
Cultivate frequently to control weeds, but shallowly so as not to damage
stalks or roots.
Corn is ready to harvest when silk becomes dry at the ends, ears feel full,
and a thumbnail puncture produces a milky-white substance. The sap from
under ripe corn will appear watery. Each stalk should produce one large ear
of corn. Many varieties also develop a second, smaller ear. Generally, from
the time the silk is visible to harvest is about 20 days.
Watch your crop closely after the first silks appear. This is the ?milk
stage? which lasts for only about a week. The best corn is always the
freshest corn! Grill it, steam it, roast it, microwave it --- enjoy it
There are a lot of nice things to do when you have some extra space in
your garden. Read our
Gardening Tips, think of the fine aroma of a little of bigger
herb garden, or
grow your own fruits.
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