Sweet corn is one of the most common summertime vegetables and is easily grown in home gardens with enough light, space and pollination. According to the University of Illinois, sweet corn comes in three types: normal sugary or SU; sugary enhancer or SE; and supersweet or Sh2.
Sweet corn can be white, yellow or bi-colored, having both white and yellow kernels. Most varieties of corn have a pale green husk; some types of corn display a dark green or purple-tinged husk.
Most sweet corn ears run 7 to 8 inches in size. Some varieties, notably Terminator, Jubilee Supersweet and Merlin, can reach up to 9 inches long.
A quick sweet corn like Earlivee can mature in just under two months, according to the University of Illinois. Most varieties of sweet corn mature within 70 to 85 days. Silver Queen, a white corn, and BiQueen, a bi-color corn, take 92 days to mature. Gardeners can ensure a longer season of corn by planting both quick-to-mature and slow-to-ripen types of corn.
Normal sugary or SU corn has a basic level of sweetness. This corn does not store well and is best picked right before cooking, according to the University of Illinois.
Sugary enhancer corn contains a specific gene that boosts the sugar level while retaining the creamy texture gardeners expect in corn. Sugary enhancer corn is a common choice for most home gardeners, since it has both a desirable flavor and texture.
Supersweet corn must be planted at least 500 feet from all other corn, since cross-pollination from a less sweet corn will make supersweet corn ears tough and starchy.
Corn should be planted in rows, with at least four rows in a garden for optimal pollination. Corn requires full sun to grow and needs to be planted in a warm soil (at least 50 F). Purdue University recommends planting corn seeds 1 inch deep in heavy soils and 2 inches deep in sandy soils. Corn rows should be spaced 2 to 3 feet apart so the plants have room to grow. Depending on the variety of corn, gardeners should leave 8 to 12 inches of space between individual corn plants.