How to Grow Sweet Corn at Home


Sweet corn comes in many varieties from sweet to super sweet. Growing times also vary from short season types like Earlivee, which requires only 58 days to harvest, to Silver Queen, requiring 92 days to harvest. Sweet corn is wind pollinated so planting in long rows generally results in poor pollination or a less bountiful crop.

Step 1

Test the soil of the garden site to determine the nitrogen level of the soil. Spectrum Analytic states, when 25 ppm of nitrate is present, the soil requires no additional nitrogen. Add a 10-10-10 fertilizer to raise the nitrogen level, if determined by the soil test kit.

Step 2

Choose a sunny location in the home garden to plant sweet corn. The soil temperature must be above 60 degrees or the seed will rot instead of germinate, according to Colorado State University.

Step 3

Plant 2 to 3 kernels of sweet corn per hole at a depth of 1 to 1 1/2 inches. Super sweet varieties only need to be planted at a depth of 3/4 inch. Space the planting holes 6 to 8 inches apart. Plant three short rows of corn measuring 3 to 4 feet long and 16 to 18 inches apart. This planting method keeps the corn stalks in close proximity to each other for better pollination.

Step 4

Water the garden site until the sweet corn sprouts. Thin the corn to one stalk per planted hole to keep the corn from competing for soil nutrients. Add fertilizer, if desired, half way through the growing season.

Step 5

Mulch between the corn stalks to help the soil retain moisture and to keep weeds from growing. Use shallow cultivation methods to remove weeds during the growing season. Deep hoeing may damage the shallow roots of the corn stalks.

Step 6

Harvest the sweet corn as soon as the silk starts drying and turning brown. Refrigerate as soon as possible or process immediately for the best flavor.

Things You'll Need

  • Viable corn seed
  • Fertilizer
  • Soil test kit
  • Organic mulch (optional)


  • Spectrum Analytic: Presidedress Soil Nitrogen Test
  • Colorado State University: Growing Sweet Corn in the Backyard Garden
  • University of Illinois: Watch Your Garden Grow; Corn
Keywords: growing sweet corn, sweet corn, grow sweet corn

About this Author

Julie Richards is a freelance writer from Ohio. She has been writing poetry and short stories for 30 years. Recently, Richards has written a variety of e-books and numerous articles on gardening, small business, and farming. She is currently enrolled at Kent State University completing her bachelor's degree in English.