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Growing Sweet corn, also maize

(Zea mays, var. rugosa)

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
P P P P P P P P P P P  

(Best months for planting Sweet corn in Australia - tropical regions)

P = Plant direct in garden where they are to grow.


  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 16°C and 35°C. (Show °F/in)
  • Space plants: 20 - 30 cm apart
  • Harvest in 11-14 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow in same bed): All beans, cucumber, melons, peas, pumpkin, squash, amaranth
  • Avoid growing in same bed: Celery.
  • A seedling
  • A young corn plant
  • Feathery cobs on side of stem. Male flowers at top.

Plant in 4 by 4 blocks to encourage germination Pick when the silky threads on the cobs turn brown or black. Part the top of the leaves and test for ripeness by pressing a grain with your fingernail. If it is milky, it is ready.

Early varieties ripen quickly and are sweeter when just picked.

Avoid planting coloured maize ( for drying) near sweetcorn as they will cross-pollinate and spoil the cobs on both.

Culinary hints - cooking and eating Sweet corn

Pick and cook within an hour. Remove the silks and outer leaves.
Best flavour if microwave about 4 minutes per cob.
Can be barbequed wrapped in foil
Cook large amounts in a stock pot until test soft.
Sprinkle with black pepper and dip in butter.


Your comments and tips

05 May 14, craig (Australia - temperate climate)
Use pyrethrum for ants, the grubs don't like it much either. It is a safer less toxic option. A fresh chilli mix in water also works but isn't pleasant on a windy day when applying. Try not to be too nosey and open the cobbs for a look as this allows access for pests to get in. Let the silks die down to a dead brown and you will get what you get, leaving them longer wont help they are done.
19 Feb 14, Natalie (Australia - temperate climate)
I am growing corn for the first time and have struck a problem. I planted them in October and noticed the tops have turned brown. I picked some but one only had about 3 kernels and the others didn't have any. They smelt ready for picking too. Did I pick too early?
10 Aug 14, Naomi (Australia - temperate climate)
There aren't many kernels because they didn't pollinate. You can self-pollinate by grabbing the pollen off the tassels (at the top) and sprinkling onto the silk threads. Worked well for us!
17 Feb 14, John (Australia - temperate climate)
hi .can you tell me how we can stop ants eating our corn . just lost 15 plants for the second time . they eat the corn itself not the plant .
27 Jan 14, Eve Hjort (Australia - temperate climate)
I have grubs in my corn cobs how do I get rid of them
25 Jan 14, Peter (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
do you remove the seeds off the cob to dry out or just leave them on the cob.
23 Jan 14, Robyn (Australia - temperate climate)
Does anyone have suggestions for 'Scarecrows' or other alternatives to keep the birds away?
11 Jan 14, Sam (Australia - temperate climate)
My sweet corn has prolific growth of side-stalks emerging from the base of each plant. Is this normal, and should the additional stalks be removed to encourage growth and production from the main stalk?
24 Jan 14, nic (Australia - temperate climate)
yes
22 Dec 13, bren stephens (Australia - temperate climate)
thank you so much for the great clear explanation. it is our first try at corn. bren
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This planting guide is a general reference intended for home gardeners. We recommend that you take into account your local conditions in making planting decisions. Gardenate is not a farming or commercial advisory service. For specific advice, please contact your local plant suppliers, gardening groups, or agricultural department. The information on this site is presented in good faith, but we take no responsibility as to the accuracy of the information provided.

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