Growing your own corn can give you the freshest corncobs you may have ever tasted. While corn is relatively easy to plant in the spring after frost has passed, it will need lots of room to grow and plenty of water. Large farms or gardens can grow corn in multiple long rows, but if you are just a single family corn grower then you’ll want to keep all of your plants in a closer layout to help ensure pollination of your small crop. On average, you should grow 12 to 20 plants per family member.
Select a large bed for your corn where you can easily reach it for watering and where the sun hits it directly for at least six hours a day. To allow for at least four rows of corn, the bed needs to be at least 9 feet wide by however long you want your rows.
Loosen the soil by digging 10 inches deep. Break apart the solid clumps of soil using your shovel, or run a tiller over the bed area. Spread a 4-inch deep layer of compost or composted manure over the bed and dig again, or till, to mix the soils.
Measure and mark the beginning and end of your rows by sticking a garden stake into the ground every 2 to 3 feet. Run a garden hoe along each row with one corner pointed down to dig a small 1-to-2-inch deep trench.
Place your corn seeds into the trench spaced 4 to 6 inches apart, down each row, until all the rows are filled. Cover over the seeds, and water the entire bed to dampen the soil all around. Keep the seeds and soil moist as the seeds germinate over the next few weeks.
Thin out your seedlings when they are 6 inches tall to leave only the strongest, healthiest looking seedlings growing every 12 to 18 inches down the rows. Move the soil to make a small 2-to-3-inch tall mound around the base of the remaining plants.
Fertilize the plants when they are a foot tall with a high-nitrogen fertilizer according to manufacturer’s instructions and then again when the stalks are 30 inches tall. Weed the bed regularly to keep anything that isn’t your corn from growing there.
Water the corn two to three times a week to make the soil well moistened, but don’t water so much that the bed is soaking wet. As the stalks grow larger and ears of corn begin to develop, you will need more water each time.
Pull ears from the rest of the plant to harvest them when the silks at the end of the ear have turned brown. If you open an ear and push your fingernail into a kernel the fluid inside the kernel should be milk like in color, not clear.