How Deep to Plant Your Sweet Corn

Eating sweet corn fresh from the stalk is one of the best things about summer. Corn is not difficult to grow, so it is one of the most popular plants in home gardens. Knowing how deep the plant your sweet corn seeds is essential. If you do not plant at the right depth, you may miss out on eating your own fresh ears.


Early Spring Planting

If you want to get a head start on the corn growing season, you can plant your sweet corn seeds as early as April in some areas. The trick is to plant your corn seeds when the soil temperatures are consistently above 55°F (13°C).

If you choose to plant corn seeds during the cool spring weather, you should plant them at a depth of approximately one-half an inch (1.3 cm). Planting at this depth allows the spring sun to penetrate the soil and helps the corn seeds to germinate.

Tip: Do not plant super-sweet corn varieties in the spring, as they require warmer temperatures to grow.

Early Summer Planting

Despite popular opinion, you can plant sweet corn seeds nearly any time in the growing season. For the super-sweet or early ripening varieties, you can plant corn in June and still harvest a bumper crop.

However, once the soil temperatures reach about 65°F (18°C) or higher, it is crucial to sow the seeds at a greater depth than if you planted in the spring. The ideal depth for summer planting is about 1.5 inches (3.8-4 cm). At this depth, the soil is warm enough to allow the corn seeds to germinate but not so warm as to kill the seed before it sprouts.

Staggered Planting

Many gardeners stagger their sweet corn planting to ensure they have enough fresh corn to eat as well as some to preserve for the winter months. If this is your plan as well, you should follow these steps:

  • Plant one batch of corn at a depth of one-half an inch (1.3 cm) in early spring when the soil temperatures are, and the ground is moist.
  • Plant the second round of corn at 1 inch (2.5 cm) approximately two weeks after the first batch.
  • Plant the third set of sweet corn seeds at the level of 1.5 inches (3.8 cm) about two weeks after you plant the second set.

Tip: If you want to have sweet corn all summer long, make sure any subsequent batches you plant are the super-sweet, early ripening variety of corn.

By staggering your planting at regular intervals, you can easily have as much fresh sweet corn as you can eat, as well as have some to store.