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Growing Sweet corn, also maize

Jan F M A M J J A S O N Dec
P P P P P P P P P P P  

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

P = Plant in the garden.

  • 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 seedling
  • A young corn plant
    A young corn plant
  • Feathery cobs on side of stem. Male flowers at top.
    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

19 Feb 17, Pauline (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi Mark Southcombe About the ants. While I have a lot of ants they are not a problem now that I am using a Bokashi system of compost. In fact no bugs are attacking my vegetables. I am growing corn for the first time and so far so good. I will keep an eye on all the things mentioned in this post.
16 Feb 17, (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi There! I was wondering how I can get rid of the little black ants that are eating and nesting in my sweet corn. And something is eating away my capsicum........... Thank you
16 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Ants can be a problem in the garden. You don't say in your note how many plants you have but if it is only a few you could smear a band of petroleum jelly around each stalk to trap them. Ants are also deterred by pepper. Buy some cheap pepper and sprinkle it liberally around the plants. this works well to stop ants stealing carrot seed, which they love. Regarding the ones that are nesting I don't have any suggestions. Maybe a small amount of kitchen washing up liquid mixed with water and sprayed onto the affected plants will suffocate them. Regarding chewing pests on your capsicums. Yates 'Natures Way' is a very saafe spray to use for caterpillars. I don't use synthetic sprays or chemicals in my garden. Trust this helps.
17 Feb 17, LESLEY STRUDWICK (Australia - arid climate)
Thank you............ will give your suggestions a go.. :)
16 Feb 17, Ingrid (Australia - tropical climate)
Hi, I'm a single mum on a serous budget and only a small space in the courtyard. Am I able to grow sweetcorn in pots? Am I better off planting them in the garden? What size pots do I need ? I like gardening. I sometimes wonder if it's just cheaper to buy a $ 1 cob and be done with it! Thank you for the emails. I find them very helpful. Ingrid
16 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
Sweet corn will grow in large pots or tubs. It likes plenty of water and a good food supply (manure, compost, etc). 20 litre buckets may be obtained free from bakeries or fast food outlets. Drill some drainage holes in the bottom. Large planter tubs may also be availble from landscapers who plant advanced trees. With ample food and water you could try 2 or 3 plants per tub. To increase yield from that space plant 2 or 3 climbing bean seeds as well. they will climb up the corn stalks adding another vegetable to your harvest. It maybe too late to plant sweet corn this season but you could try salad greens (lettuce, bok choi, etc), carrots or beetroot. Not too much manure for the carrots or they will have forked roots. There is a huge variety of food that can be grown in small spaces and tests have shown that you can feed a family of 4 in the area of a double carport (6m x 6m). Keep going its great to grow your own healthy food. Trust this helps.
17 Feb 17, Ingrid (Australia - tropical climate)
Thank you for that very helpful feedback! Ingrid
07 Feb 17, flo (Australia - temperate climate)
Usually crop rotation is done so diseases don't build up in the beds, and also because each type of crop takes different nutrients from the soil. Growing the same crop in the same spot all the time would deplete the soil. Legumes fix nitrogen in the soil, so growing leafy greens to follow would have them benefitting from the nitrogen. Hope this helps...
29 Jan 17, Sue g puttock (Australia - temperate climate)
When i pick the corn of the plants do more corn keep growing or do i just get rid of the plants when all cobs picked
04 Feb 17, John (Australia - temperate climate)
After a corn/maize plant has produced a cob or cobs it will not produce any more. You can cut the stalks off or pull them out of the ground and use them for mulch or plant climbing peas on them - free stakes! Trust this helps
Showing 1 - 10 of 222 comments

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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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