Sweet Corn Growing Tips

Sweet corn obtains its name from the doubled amount of sugar (versus standard amounts of corn) that accumulates in the endosperm, giving it its sweet, juicy flavor. Several sweet corn varieties exist, ranging in color from yellow, white to a mixture of the two (from cross-pollination). Some key tips when growing sweet corn includes choosing the ideal planting site, establishing a watering cycle and knowing exactly when to harvest for the best sweet corn.

Choosing a Planting Site

When planting sweet corn, make sure that different varieties are completely separated so they do not cross-pollinate. This also goes for corn being grown in your area by other gardeners. Around 900 feet between each variety is recommended. The planting site needs full sun (at least eight hours per day), and soil temperatures at 60 degrees Fahrenheit. To make the corn a little more sweet, plant it when soil is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. The months of May and June are most consistent with this soil temperature.

Establish a Watering Plan

Sweet corn needs consistent, frequent watering. Once the corn has tassels, water around 1 inch a week. Don't let the soil dry out completely between waterings, though. If it becomes dry often, water the corn around 2 inches per week.

Harvesting Corn

The ideal time to harvest sweet corn is when the ears are fully grown but not completely ripe. Called the "milk stage," this process lasts around one week. Examine the silks, kernels and husks to figure out if the corn is ready to harvest. The silks should be browning, the kernels should produce a small amount of milky liquid if pierced with a needle and the husks should be around the ear tightly. Harvest in colder hours of the day, such as early morning.

Keywords: growing corn, planting corn, sweet corn tips

About this Author

Lauren Wise has more than eight years' experience as a writer, editor, copywriter and columnist. She specializes in food, wine, music and pop culture. Her writing has appeared in various magazines, including "Runway," "A2Z," "Scottsdale Luxury Living" and "True West." Wise holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism from Arizona State University.