How to Grow Sweet Corn From Seed

Written by jason jensen
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How to Grow Sweet Corn From Seed
An abundant sweetcorn harvest requires a large planting area. (corn image by dinostock from

Sweetcorn is a type of maize with a higher sugar concentration than most other varieties, which is what gives it its sweet flavour. Farmers and home gardeners like growing sweetcorn for the taste as well as its high yields and quick harvest. Large gardens and acreages are the best places to grow sweetcorn because the seeds must be planted in several large rows. Each stalk will only produce a few ears of corn, so for a generous harvest you need to grow many stalks of corn.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Spade, plough or rototiller
  • 12-12-12 fertiliser
  • Garden hose or sprinklers
  • Mulch, compost or peat moss

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  1. 1

    Prepare the soil by using a spade, plough or rototiller to break up the clods and clumps in the first 6 inches of soil.

  2. 2

    Apply 1.81 to 2.27 Kilogram of 12-12-12 fertiliser for ever 100 square feet of soil.

  3. 3

    Plant sweetcorn seeds 1 inch deep and space them 1 foot apart. Plant seeds in four to six rows spaced 32 inches apart.

  4. 4

    Provide the corn with 1 inch of water per week. Lay down compost, mulch or peat moss if your soil is drying out too quickly between waterings.

Tips and warnings

  • Sweetcorn must be planted in soil no cooler than 10 degrees Celsius. The best soil temperature range to grow sweetcorn is between 15.6 and 35 degrees Celsius.
  • If you live in a very hot and dry climate, give your sweetcorn more than 1 inch of water per week. The goal is to keep the soil moist between watering cycles.
  • The best time to harvest the corn is when it is in its "milk stage." Puncture a kernel with your thumbnail. The juice in the kernel will look milky if the corn is in its milk stage.

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