How to Prepare Corn Seed for Planting


Sweet corn produces sweet, tender ears of corn, typically between 7 and 9 inches long. Classified as early, midseason or late corn, the time to maturity ranges from 65 to 90 days. Corn requires well-drained soil with a pH between 6 and 6.5, which can be determined by a soil test kit available at your local hardware or home improvement store.

Step 1

Place the corn seed in a large bowl. The seed swells with soaking and may double in size. Choose a bowl that will accommodate the increased size.

Step 2

Pour lukewarm water over the corn seed, filling the bowl to within 2 inches of the top. Seeds that float to the top are not viable seeds. Remove and discard. Place in a warm area to sit overnight.

Step 3

Drain the water and plant in prepared garden soil to a depth of 1 inch. Plant four to six corn seeds in a cluster. Space individual seeds 2 to 3 inches apart. Space clusters 12 inches apart in rows 24 to 36 inches apart. Firm down with the back of the hoe and water well to thoroughly moisten the soil. Corn germinates in seven to 14 days.

Things You'll Need

  • Corn seed
  • Large bowl
  • Lukewarm water


  • Purdue University: Growing Sweet Corn
  • University of Illinois Extension: Corn
  • Iowa State University Extension: Corn Planting

Who Can Help

  • Colorado State University Extension: Growing Sweet Corn in the Backyard Garden
  • University of Missouri Extension: Growing Sweet Corn in Missouri
Keywords: soak corn seed, plant corn, prepare corn seed, planting corn

About this Author

Nannette Richford is an avid gardener, teacher and nature enthusiast with 4 years experience in online writing and a lifetime of personal journals. She is published on various sites, including Associated Content. Richford holds a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from the University of Maine Orono and certifications in 7-12 English, K-8 General Elementary and Birth to age 5.