Plant corn from seed in your garden bed in order to enjoy this summertime staple. Corn plants require full sun and need warm weather in order to develop. Gardeners can choose from many different types of sweet corn but all have similar planting and care requirements.
Types of Corn
The two main types of corn seed available to gardeners are flint corn, also called Indian corn, and sweet corn. Sweet corn is typically white, yellow or bi-colored. Flint corn comes in an array of colors including white, red and purple. Flint corn is primarily grown for decoration and sweet corn for eating.
Sweet Corn Seeds
Sweet corn seeds come in varying levels of sweetness: normal sugary, sugary enhancer and supersweet. According to the University of Illinois, most gardeners prefer sugary enhancer since it combines sweetness with a creamy corn texture. Supersweet corn has a tough texture and cannot be grown near other corn seeds, since cross-pollination can cause supersweet corn to lose its sweetness. The University of Illinois recommends leaving 500 feet between supersweet corn and other varieties.
Corn will not germinate in cold soil. Normal sugar and sugary enhancer corn require a soil temperature of 55 degrees Fahrenheit to grow; supersweet corn needs a warmer 65 degree Fahrenheit temperature. Wait until the soil has sufficiently warmed to plant seeds; check the soil temperature with a thermometer.
Corn rows must be spaced 30 to 36 inches apart. Seeds need 9 to 12 inches of space in the row. Plant corn seeds at a 1/2-inch depth in cool soils and 1 to 1 1/2 inches deep in warm soils.
Most corn seeds are ready for harvest in 69 to 95 days, according to the University of Illinois. The corn ears are ready to harvest when the silky tassels dry out and turn brown.
Once planted, corn seeds need regular watering in order to grow properly. Hot weather or drought causes missing kernels on the ears. Water until the soil becomes saturated, then wait until the soil is moist but not dry and water again.