Corn Planting 101


Growing corn is one of the most common reasons for raising a backyard garden, according to Colorado State University. Corn grows quickly, with some varieties being ready within 80 days of being sown. Buy seeds from any garden store or nursery and plant corn at home to begin enjoying this popular plant. Though corn is hardy, it does require specific environmental characteristics for proper growth.

Step 1

Wait until the outdoor soil temperature is a minimum of 50 degrees Fahrenheit. For best results, wait until the soil temperature hits 70 degrees Fahrenheit or higher. Corn germinates 30 percent faster at 70 degrees than at 50 degrees, according to Iowa State University.

Step 2

Break up the soil to a depth of 6 inches, using a spade. Corn thrives in deep and rich dirt, according to Colorado State University. Mix in 3 to 4 inches of aged compost. This helps the soil retain moisture and also adds micronutrients for the future corn.

Step 3

Fertilize the garden plot. Mix in 4 lbs. of 12-12-12 all-purpose fertilizer for every 100 square feet of gardening space. Corn plants are heavy feeders, and fertilizer provides the nutritional boost needed for fast and vigorous seedling development.

Step 4

Plant the corn kernels approximately an inch deep in the soil. Separate each kernel by a foot. Grow at least two rows of corn to ensure proper pollination of the corn flowers, and thereby proper corn ear growth, according to the University of Illinois. Space each row apart by 3 feet.

Step 5

Water the planted corn seeds twice a day, applying enough moisture to wet the soil to a depth of 4 to 6 inches. The corn will germinate within three weeks in soil that's at 50 degrees Fahrenheit, and takes less than a week to sprout in soil that's warmed to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, according to Iowa State University.

Things You'll Need

  • Spade
  • Aged compost
  • Fertilizer
  • Corn seeds
  • Water


  • "The Vegetable Gardener's Bible, 10th ed."; Edward Smith; 2009
  • University of Illinois: Corn
  • Purdue University: Growing Sweet Corn
  • Iowa State University: Corn Planting Guide
  • Colorado State University: Growing Sweet Corn in the Backyard Garden
Keywords: growing corn, planting corn, sowing corn kernels

About this Author

Josh Duvauchelle is an editor and journalist with more than 10 years' experience. His work has appeared in various magazines, including "Honolulu Magazine," which has more paid subscribers than any other magazine in Hawaii. He graduated with honors from Trinity Western University, holding a Bachelor of Arts in professional communications, and earned a certificate in applied leadership and public affairs from the Laurentian Leadership Centre.