Corn is better tasting and sweeter when picked fresh just before cooking. This is because once picked the sugar in corn turns into starch quickly. After you’ve grown and tasted your own corn, you may want to plant it every year thereafter. Unfortunately, corn is a long-season vegetable, meaning most varieties take a long time from seeding to harvest. For short-season growing locations or if you’d like that first bite of fresh corn early, try the variety called earlivee which can be harvested in only 58 days.
Choose the north end of the vegetable garden to plant your corn, and plan for east to west rows. This prevents shorter vegetable plants in the southern part of the garden from being overshadowed by the corn stalks. You can start to plant corn when soils hit a temperature of 50 degrees F, according to the Colorado State University Cooperative Extension.
Dig up the ground soil to about a foot in depth. Turn the soil and break it up. Remove any rocks, weeds or large twigs. Pour about a 2-inch layer of compost over the worked soil. Work the compost through the soil all the way to the bottom. Use a rake to even out the planting area.
Create four garden rows. Use the point of the hoe to draw a line, about 3 inches deep, for as long as you would like the row. Make another line, a foot to the south, in the same manner. Allow the soil to fall to the inside of the row each time you draw a line, forming a peaked line of soil and two moats. Create three more garden rows with 2-foot walking paths between them. This is called a block of rows and is required for good pollination of corn.
Make holes in your peaked lines of soil, at the center of each garden row, about an inch deep and spaced 4 to 5 inches. If the seed packet of the variety of seeds you are using recommends different seed planting depth and spacing, you should follow the package directions. Different seeds may have different needs. Drop a seed in each hole and smooth the soil over the top.
Right after planting, wet the soil with a hose spray nozzle, gently. You don’t want to unearth or have the seeds wash away with a strong water spray. Water as often as needed to keep the soil top moist. This will be different depending on the climate. The corn seeds need water, sunshine and warmth to germinate. Start watering directly in the garden row moats as soon as the seeds germinate. Provide water at least once a day. Water more if the weather is very hot and dry. The corn plant roots will grow downward toward the water, making them strong and secure.
Feed the corn plants every two to three weeks, beginning two weeks post planting. Stop fertilizing after you harvest all the corn. Use a fertilizer that is noted to be all-purpose and organic. Follow the manufacturer’s suggestion for the procedure and amount used.