Corn is a great choice for your garden, as it is easy to grow and a good choice if there are some picky vegetable eaters in the house. Although growing corn is not difficult, there are some steps to take to have great success with your garden.
3 weeks after your last spring frost date is the ideal time to plant your first corn crop.Find an open area that gets full sun and good air circulation. Proper air circulation is important because once the corn grows tassels on the top of the plant wind will help carry the pollen from the tassels to the silky strands that form on the new emerging ears. Corn is a heavy feeding crop, therefore amending the soil with compost before planting is critical as well as putting down a slow release 10-10-10 fertilizer (about 1 cup per 10 plants) at the time of planting. You will need to fertilize a second time 2 months later with a high nitrogen fertilizer.
Take a look at our Lawn Ranger's video on fertilizing corn by clicking here.
Because corn has a shallow root system, it is vulnerable to drought and requires deep watering 2 times a week during periods of hot weather. Be sure to space your plants 12 inches apart and plant in squares rather than rows due to the nature of the pollination process of corn. This means that if you have 25 plants, it’s better to plant them in a 5ft by 5ft area rather than in a 25ft line. For smaller gardens, soaker hoses are a great option. Rain gauges are great to have, as they can tell you when supplemental water is needed when there is an absence of rain.
Like the other crops in your garden, corn likes a fertile
well drained soil with a pH range from 6 to 6.8. Because corn produces about 2 or 3
ears per stalk and then stops producing, many people plant corn plants 2 weeks
apart 3 different times to prolong the harvest season.
Once your ears are filled out and the silks at the tip of the ear are brown and dry then they are ready to harvest. To be sure that the corn is ready, pull back the husk just enough to poke the kernel. If it is milky then it is ready but if it is watery then give it a little more time. If the corn seems to be more cream like when you poke it instead of like skim milk then it is over ripe and should be picked immediately.
Since corn on the cob will really only stay sweet for a week or so in the refrigerator, my grandfather would cut the corn off the cob and freeze creamed corn in ziploc bags and eat it throughout the winter until the following harvest.Corn can take as little as 60 days and as long as 100 days to harvest, depending on growing conditions.
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