Sweet corn is a summertime garden staple, but many other types of corn exist. Choosing the right corn seed for your garden can be daunting given the number of varieties available. Corn is a warm season plant and cannot be planted in soil temperatures cooler than 55 degrees F, advises the University of Illinois. Purchase corn seed in the early spring then wait until the soil warms to sow seed outside. Corn transplants poorly, so starting seeds indoors is not recommended.
Choose the type of corn to grow in your garden: dent or flint corn are mainly grown for grain, sweet corn is for eating and popcorn is for popping. Flint corn, better known as Indian corn, is the type of corn to grow for decoration. You can plant more than one type of corn seed.
Narrow down the variety of corn seed to grow once you've chosen the type of corn seed. Flint corn comes in many colors. Sweet corn comes in yellow, white or bicolor kernels and in three sweetness levels: normal sugary (SU), sugary enhancer (SE) and supersweet (Sh2). The University of Illinois recommends sugary enhancer, since it combines a creamy texture with a sweet flavor.
Visit local garden centers and nurseries to browse the types of corn seed offered for sale there. While this is the easiest way to buy corn seed you'll find fewer varieties.
Order heirloom corn seed online from a variety of seed companies (see Resources). If you want to grow heirloom, organic, dent or flint corn this is the easiest way to obtain the type of seeds you want.