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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

11 Dec 14, Javier Ibarra (Australia - temperate climate)
Does anyone now where to buy kernel in Victoria to make corn flour? I appreciate your time and assistance! Javier
07 Dec 14, Bert (Australia - temperate climate)
For cooking always leave the foliage on. Zap in the micro wave for 3 minutes and then take the leaf off. Best way. Worst way, boiling.
02 Nov 14, Nives Walker (Australia - tropical climate)
Should you remove the shoots which grow from the base of the main plant??
12 Nov 14, Brad (Australia - arid climate)
I would not remove them as they are tillers or extra extentions of the original plant that will produce extra cobs. More tillers = more cobs
24 Oct 14, Bev Anderson (Australia - tropical climate)
Our corn is very attractive to 2 different bugs at present. A brown bi-coloured bug with long proboscis and a green bug. They seem to suck on the kernels and then the kernel turns brown. How should they be treated? Many thanks
24 Aug 14, Anna (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Has anyone grown gem corn? Know where to get seeds?
14 Sep 14, Kbot (Australia - temperate climate)
Try here: • Diggers • Eden Seeds or if you are in WA try Merri Bee Farm Happy gardening :)
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!
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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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