How to Plant Sweet Corn Seeds


Sweet corn is one of the most popular vegetable crops among backyard gardeners, according to Purdue University. Although there are dozens of sweet corn varieties, they all share the same general planting guidelines. Plant your sweet corn seeds once the soil temperature reaches 50 degrees F, or wait until the soil heats up to 60 degrees F for optimal germination rates.

Step 1

Test your gardening site with a soil pH testing kit, available from many garden stores. Sweet corn grows best in pH ranging between 6.0 and 6.5, according to Purdue University. If your soil's pH needs adjusting, ask your regional cooperative extension office about what soil pH adjusters are locally available (see Resources).

Step 2

Break up the soil to a depth of 6 inches, using either a spade or mechanical tiller for larger gardening areas. Fertilize the gardening site by spreading 3 lbs. of 10-10-10 or 5-10-10 fertilizer for every 100 square feet of gardening space.

Step 3

Sow the sweet corn seeds. The University of Delaware suggests burying each seed approximately 2 inches below the soil surface and 1 foot apart. If you're making several rows of sweet corn, space each row 3 feet apart.

Step 4

Water the planting site twice daily to keep the top 2 inches of dirt moist. The corn will typically germinate within two weeks.

Things You'll Need

  • Soil pH kit
  • Spade or tiller
  • Fertilizer
  • Corn seeds


  • "Burpee: The Complete Vegetable & Herb Gardener"; Karan Cutler, et al.; 1997
  • University of Delaware: Sweet Corn
  • Purdue University: Growing Sweet Corn

Who Can Help

  • USDA: Find a Cooperative Extension Office
Keywords: planting sweet corn, sweet corn seeds, sowing sweet corn

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.