How to Apply Granular Fertilizer When Planting Sweet Corn


Whether you plant a yellow, white or bi-color variety, the quality and flavor of garden-grown sweet corn exceeds the mass-produced varieties sold at local retailers. Early, mid- and late-season sweet corn varieties mature in 58 to 92 days, and produce a vitamin and nutrient dense crop with the proper growing conditions. Sweet corn thrives in balanced, well-draining soil under full sun. Freshly harvested sweet corn is perfect for eating straight off the cob and enhances everything from soups to salsas.

Step 1

Test soil in the planting location to determine exact fertilizer needs. Local gardening centers sell self-testing kits, or you can take soil samples to your agricultural extension agency for testing. With the test results, the agency can help you choose a fertilizer formulation that will improve your garden's soil quality.

Step 2

Apply 3 to 4 pounds of granular fertilizer for every 100 square feet of planting area, scattering granules over soil surface by hand and then working it in with a tiller.

Step 3

Water the area immediately to allow the fertilizer to break down in the soil, and wait one to two days before sowing sweet corn seed.

Step 4

Apply a side dressing of high-nitrogen formula fertilizer when the sweet corn reaches 12 to 18 inches in height by scattering fertilizer alongside the rows of corn. Do not scatter fertilizer directly on to the plants and stems, as this can cause the plants to burn.

Step 5

Water the corn rows immediately to incorporate the second fertilizer application in to the soil.

Tips and Warnings

  • Fertilizers that contain sulphate of ammonia should not be applied when the plant leaves are wet.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil test kit (optional)
  • Water
  • Tiller
  • 12-12-12 granular fertilizer (if fertilizing without soil test first)
  • Granular fertilizer specific to soil needs (if soil test has been conducted)
  • Granular high-nitrogen fertilizer


  • Purdue University Cooperative Extension Service: Growing Sweet Corn
  • University of Illinois Extension: Watch Your Garden Grow: Corn
  • Landscape-and-Garden: How to Apply Fertilizer
Keywords: fertilizing sweet corn, granular fertilizer application, side dressing sweet corn

About this Author

Deborah Waltenburg has been a freelance writer since 2002. In addition to her work for Demand Studios, Waltenburg has written for websites such as Freelance Writerville and Constant Content, and has worked as a ghostwriter for travel/tourism websites and numerous financial/debt reduction blogs.