How to Plant Sweet Corn in Spirals


Corn in the garden is the soul of summer planting, right along with tomatoes and basil. There is something about the freshness of corn, just minutes after you pick it that is hard to replicate in store-bought corn. One of the few challenges in growing corn is planting enough of it in such a way that all of the ears get their pollen. Wind pollinates the corn, and the wind can come from any direction. Planting corn in spirals gets maximum wind coverage from every angle.

Step 1

Mark off the area where you want to plant your corn. It needs to be in the full sun and in an area where it will get good drainage from heavy rains. Corn roots will grow very deep, so there cannot be any rocky ledges or heavy clay under the surface or the corn simply will not grow. If you start from the center point, measure out 3 feet, creating a 6-foot circle. Making it any larger than this means you will have a hard time reaching the corn in the center.

Step 2

Draw a rough guide for your spiral. Start in the center and work outwards, keeping the rings 18 inches apart from each other until you reach the outside of the marked-off circle. If you measured correctly, you should have four spirals emanating from the center.

Step 3

Drag your hoe through the soil to create a shallow trench about 2 inches deep. You should have already cleared away any surface weeds and debris and the weather should be warm (65 degrees F). It is not necessary to turn the soil over beforehand.

Step 4

Plant the corn seed in the middle of the trenches about 6 inches apart from each other. You can plant them closer if you are worried about the quality of your seed, but realize you may have to come back and thin them out if they all sprout.

Step 5

Pull the soil back over the seeds and walk over it to pack the soil down over the planted seeds.

Step 6

Water the area well so you dampen the first couple of inches of soil. Keep watering every few days as needed to keep the soil damp until you see the sprouts emerging from the soil. Once the seedlings are growing, there is no need to water unless you notice the plants actually wilting.

Step 7

Fertilize the growing corn every couple of weeks with compost tea or diluted fish emulsion. It should develop quickly during the heat of the summer and be ready to harvest in as few as 58 days up to 80 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Corn seed
  • Hoe
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Illinois Extension: Corn - Watch Your Garden Grow
Keywords: planting corn spiral, plant corn circles, planting spiral corn

About this Author

Based in Maryland, Heidi Braley, currently writes for local and online media outlets. Some of Braley's articles from the last 10 years are in the "Oley Newsletter," "Connections Magazine," GardenGuides and Braley's college life included Penn State University and Villanova University with her passions centered in nutrition and botany.