How to Start Corn Seeds


Corn seeds are usually directly sown into the garden with very little effort, but there is no reason that you can't start your corn seeds indoors and then transplant the seedlings. There are advantages to starting corn seeds ahead of time, such as knowing exactly what seeds will sprout and getting an earlier start on your summer corn harvest. Whether you choose to start your corn seeds in the ground or indoors, only a few supplies and a little effort are required.

Starting Corn Seeds In The Garden

Step 1

Loosen the soil 6 inches deep, using a shovel or rototiller, and rake it smooth.

Step 2

Plant corn seed 1 inch deep, and cover well. Tap the dirt firmly down over the corn seed.

Step 3

Water well, but do not saturate the ground.

Starting Corn Seeds Indoors

Step 1

Fill 3-inch, individual peat pots 2/3 full with a potting soil mix and water enough to moisten the soil.

Step 2

Lay the corn seed on top of the soil, and then cover the seed with another inch of soil, packing the soil down firmly.

Step 3

Place the pots in a plastic tray, and place the tray in a warm, sunny window. Keep the soil moist, but not wet, as the seedlings grow.

Step 4

Set the seedlings outside in the daytime to harden off when they reach 2 to 3 inches tall and temperatures outdoors are warming up. Place the seedlings where they will have full sun, but be blocked from wind. After 10 days of hardening off, plant the seedlings, still in the peat pots, in the garden, 1 inch deeper than the peat pot with 10 inches between the pots.

Tips and Warnings

  • Plant corn in shorter rows next to each other, instead of one long row, as corn is wind-pollinated. Rows next to each other will help with pollination.

Things You'll Need

  • Shovel or rototiller
  • Peat pots
  • Plastic tray


  • National Gardening Association: Corn: Planting Variations
  • Purdue University Extension Service: Growing Sweet Corn
Keywords: corn seed, starting corn seed, planting corn seed

About this Author

A freelance writer for more than 12 years, Traci Vandermark has written extensively on health and fitness topics. She is a student of health, fitness and nutrition at the International Institute Of Holistic Healing, certified by the American Association of Nutritional Consultants. Her articles have appeared in Catskill Country Magazine, The Lookout Magazine, Capper's, Birds and Blooms and Country Discoveries, to name a few.