Growing Your Own Baby Corn

If you have eaten stir-fry or assembled a salad at a salad bar, you have probably seen or eaten baby corn. These diminutive corns look just like corn on the cob; only they are much smaller. What you probably do not know is that instead of settling for the canned version of these crunchy vegetables, you can grow some in your garden!


Baby Corn Seeds

Despite what you may have heard, there is no unique variety of corn seed to buy if you want to grow baby corn. Baby corn is just that-corn that has not fully matured to its adult size.

If you want to grow baby corn, all you need to do is harvest the tiny ears before they have the chance to start to mature. If you are only raising corn to have baby corn, it does not even matter whether you plant sweet corn or field corn. Since you will harvest the tiny ears before the sugars begin to fill the kernels, any variety you plant will taste the same or similar.

Planting Baby Corn

The only difference between planting corn for baby corn or fully mature sweet corn is the spacing. When you are planting corn for corn on the cob, you need to allow eight to 10 inches (20-25 cm) between each plant. For baby corn, four inches (10 cm) is adequate space. However, your rows should still be about three or four feet apart (one or 1.5 meters).

Fertilizing Baby Corn

Baby corn plants require the same type and amount of fertilizer as the plants you plan to allow to reach maturity. After all, you still need to have healthy plants to produce the baby corn ears!

Harvesting Baby Corn

Harvesting baby corn requires that you pay very close attention to your corn plants. Corn grows very fast, so even an extra day or two on the stalk can cause the baby corn to be inedible as such.

Observe your corn plants for the following things:

  • The formation of a shank protruding from the corn stalk. This shank will be your baby corn.
  • The emergence of thin corn silk from the shank.
  • Finger-length or smaller miniature corn cobs.

Tip: If you plant a corn type that produces more than one ear, you can pick one baby ear and leave the second to continue growing.

Eating Baby Corn

Most people eat baby corn in stir-fries or salads, but you can eat it any way you serve any other raw vegetable. Baby corn is crunchy and mildly sweet, which makes it perfect for dipping in sauces or eating like you would a carrot stick. Best of all, it is produced by your own labor, so the taste is all the sweeter!