How to Plant Corn in Mid-Summer


Sweet corn is a tempting taste treat when plucked straight from the garden, cooked for just a few minutes in boiling water and brushed with melted butter and a bit of salt. Corn, unlike some other warm season crops like green peppers and squash, only produces one harvest. If your garden has ample room for two crops of corn, extend the harvest with successive plantings.

Step 1

Count backwards from the last date of frost in the fall the days required for maturity for the specific variety of corn you'd like to plant, and add a week. Some varieties like Earlivee require only 58 days. Others like How Sweet It Is require 85 days. If the average date of the first frost is October 15, you would need to plant Ealivee by August 7 and How Sweet It Is by July 12. The extra week is added in case the weather cools off faster than normal, and the frost is a bit early.

Step 2

Dig up the area where you plan to plant the corn. Add a fertilizer high in nitrogen and soil amendments, such as compost and organic matter. Dig the area again to mix thoroughly.

Step 3

Soak the seeds overnight in a bowl of water placed in a warm location. Outside is fine if the nights stay warm. Drain the water. Plant immediately.

Step 4

Plant corn seeds 1-1/2 inches deep in dry, hot soil and 1/2 inch deep in cool, moist soil. Space the seeds 6 inches apart. Plant the rows 3 feet apart in blocks rather than in long skinny rows. Corn produces pollen from the male flowers--the tassels--at the top. That pollen falls and lands on the silk, the female flowers. Each fertilized silk strand results in a kernel of corn on the cob. Pollination is higher if the corn is all together in one area rather than spread out.

Step 5

Thin the seedlings to 12 inches apart when 12 inches high. Corn grows from a central stalk that branches. Each branch has a baby corn cob. If the corn is crowded it will only throw out one branch, which results in one ear of corn. Increase productivity by giving the plants ample room.

Step 6

Water the seeds so the soil is wet to a depth of 6 inches.

Tips and Warnings

  • When counting the days to planting time, err on the side of more days rather than less. Corn does not grow well in cool weather.

Things You'll Need

  • Corn seed
  • Waterproof container
  • Shovel
  • Soil amendments
  • Fertilizer


  • University of Illinois: Corn
  • "The Country Garden"; Charlie Ryrie; 2003

Who Can Help

  • The Garden Helper: Vegetables
Keywords: growing corn in summer, succesive corn plantings, plant corn for fall harvest

About this Author

Katie Rosehill holds an MBA from Arizona State University. She began her writing career soon after college and has written website content and e-books. Her articles have appeared on, eHow, and GolfLinks. Favorite topics include personal finance - that MBA does come in handy sometimes - weddings and gardening.