As a warm-season crop, corn requires soil temperatures between 60 and 95 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal germination. It prefers rich well-drained soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.5 but tolerates a wide range of soil pH. Planted in a sunny location that receives sun for at least six to eight hours a day, corn grows rapidly and reaches heights of 7 to 10 feet depending on the cultivar. Days to maturity range from under 60 days for early varieties to 90 days or more for late varieties.
Prepare the soil in a sunny location by tilling to a depth of 6 to 8 inches. Layer 2 to 3 inches of well-rotted manure or compost over the area. Work it in well with the existing soil. Apply 3 to 4 lbs. of 12-12-12 fertilizer per 100-foot row and work it into the soil.
Plant corn in late spring or early summer once the danger of frost has passed in your area and the soil has warmed. Planting corn too early results in poor germination and risks damage from frost.
Sow seeds to a depth of 1 inch in heavy soils and up to 2 inches in sandy soils. Space seeds 8 to 10 inches apart in rows, or plant four to six seeds in hills spaced 3 feet apart. Mound soil into hills 6 inches high and 12 to 18 inches in diameter, if planting in hills.
Allow 2 to 3 feet between rows to allow for cultivation and to promote good air circulation.