Growing Corn from Seeds

Although corn is one of the most widely-grown crops in the United States, there are many gardeners of all skill levels who are reluctant to try to grow this favorite vegetable. While there may be some additional work involved as compared to other plants you might grow, growing corn from seed is not at difficult, and the reward is fresh corn whenever you want it!


Choosing the Right Corn Seeds

One of the first things you need to do before planting corn is to decide what kind of corn you want to plant. Unless you are growing field corn or popcorn, you need to be sure the seeds you buy are sweet corn seeds. Any other type of corn is not going to provide the exceptional flavor you are expecting.

Do not be confused by the sheer variety of sweet corn seeds on the market, especially if this is the first time you have planted it. Instead, focus on the types of corn that grow best in your geographical planting zone.

Tip: Your local extension office or the USDA website can tell you the growing zone in which you live.

Planting Your Corn Seeds

Before planting your corn seeds, you need to prepare your plot to get it ready. However, this is not an extra step, as you likely have to do the same work for your entire garden. Till the planting area and work in several inches of organic compost to enrich the soil. Doing so helps break up the ground as well as provide extra nutrition for the seeds.

Once the ground is ready, plant your corn seeds. Although you have probably seen farms with rows upon rows of corn, for the home garden, it is better to plant corn in blocks. Block planting increases pollination, which also increases yield.

Tip: Plant your corn either in hills with three or four seeds per hill or in rows with the seeds planted about five inches (13 cm) apart.

Caring for Corn Seeds

Once you plant your corn seeds, they should germinate within a couple of weeks. After that, you need to supply ample amounts of the following:

  • Water. The soil around the corn should always feel moist. When it feels dry, water thoroughly.
  • Fertilizer. A nitrogen-only fertilizer is best for corn.
  • Weed Control. Use a thick layer of mulch to help control weeds.
  • Sunshine. Corn need full sunlight.

Tip: Mulch also helps retain moisture in the ground.

Once you know what to do, growing corn from seed is no more difficult than producing any other garden crop. With a little attention, you can guarantee a bountiful harvest.