Midwest Corn Planting


Knee-high by the 4th of July is the goal of farmers and gardeners planting corn in the Midwest. Corn growing in the Midwest is traditional, with Iowa farmers alone planting more than 12,000 acres in 2000. The key to Midwest corn planting is timing, with most gardeners and farmers attempting to get the corn in the ground between April 20th and May 5th of any given year.

Step 1

Take several soil samples from the area you wish to plant corn and have the samples tested by your country extension agent. Corn requires a large amount of nitrogen in the soil, and your agent can make recommendations for soil amendments that will ensure a good harvest.

Step 2

Till the soil to a depth of 3 to 6 inches to break apart clods and aerate the soil. This is also the time to add in any nutrients recommended by the soil test results.

Step 3

Create trenches in the prepared garden space by using the hoe handle to make straight furrow rows in the soil 1 inch deep.

Step 4

Space corn seed kernels 8 to 12 inches apart in the row. Cover with 1 inch of soil using the hoe or a rake. Plant early-maturing varieties of corn 8 inches apart, while slower growing varieties need the full 12 inches.

Step 5

Water the corn as needed to ensure that the plants have approximately 1 inch of water per week. This is especially important during the tasseling and ear development stages of the growing cycle.

Things You'll Need

  • Tiller
  • Garden hoe
  • Corn seed kernels


  • Iowa State University Extension: Corn Planting Guide (PDF)
  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Sweet Corn in Missouri
  • Purdue University Extension: Growing Sweet Corn (PDF)
Keywords: Plant corn, Midwest corn growing, Home-grown corn

About this Author

G. K. Bayne is a freelance writer, currently writing for Demand Studios where her expertise in back-to-basics, computers and electrical equipment are the basis of her body of work. Bayne began her writing career in 1975 and has written for Demand since 2007.