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Growing Sweet corn, also maize

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

(Best months for growing Sweet corn in USA - Zone 5a regions)

P = Sow seed

  • Sow in garden. Sow seed at a depth approximately three times the diameter of the seed. Best planted at soil temperatures between 61°F and 95°F. (Show °C/cm)
  • Space plants: 8 - 12 inches apart
  • Harvest in 11-14 weeks.
  • Compatible with (can grow beside): All beans, cucumber, melons, peas, pumpkin, squash, amaranth
  • Avoid growing close to: 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 Apr 20, Robyn (Australia - tropical climate)
I’ve always though corn was super hardy. My plants are about 3 weeks old, decent size and some little green caterpillars (about 1cm long) smashing it. Please help, what can I do? Natural solution?
06 Apr 20, Jenni (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
Hi, we use a mix of 1 tablespoon molasses to 1 litre water on caterpillars in corn, swamp lilies, and new cycad leaves. Molasses is available in 2 litre containers from produce stores. Good luck.
06 Apr 20, Anon (Australia - temperate climate)
Go to iView (ABC TV) on the internet and find Landline from yesterday Sunday 5/04/20 and watch the show. There is a story about the army worm (I think) that has just arrived in Northern Australia in particular Qld that is hammering sweet corn/maize.
05 Apr 20, Deborah Hornberger (USA - Zone 10b climate)
What is the best variety of sweet corn I can plant now.
23 Mar 20, Dale Winton (Australia - tropical climate)
Hi, Just wondering if it is a problem to plant sweet corn in trays and transplanting once bigger? Thanks Dale
24 Mar 20, Chris (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
I think they transplant ok. They sell corn seedlings in seed trays at Bunnings.
24 Mar 20, (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
It is very easy to germinate corn in the garden. Plant into wet soil or give a good watering after planting and don't water again for 3-4 days depending if it is hot or warm. If you over water them they will rot. You can do in trays but as mention above be careful with watering. Transplant when about 75-100mm high, don't leave it until they are 300mm high. Sane applies to bean and peas.
22 Mar 20, kishinchand chellaram (Australia - temperate climate)
Hi I plant sweet corn and is growing since January . so I want to know when it is ripe to eat it. thanks
24 Mar 20, Mike (Australia - temperate climate)
Just separate a small part of the husk and have a look at the kernels. If they are a bright yellow and nice and plump then they are ready. Don't leave on the plant for too long after this time as the can start to dry and harden.
24 Mar 20, Anon (Australia - sub-tropical climate)
When the tassel (spear) comes out the top, over the next 5 days it will pollinate and then it takes around 21 days until ready to pick. Around this time just peel back a little of the top of a cob to see what it looks like. You will soon learn to judge it right.
Showing 1 - 10 of 334 comments

The biggest problem with growing sweet corn is germinating the seed. The ground should be moist when planting the seeds. Give a light watering after planting. Don't water again for 3-5 days depend on how hot it is. If the soil is too wet the seeds will just rot. If really hot weather try and cover with shade cloth or protect them from the hot part of the day. Once they are growing plenty of fertiliser and water.

- Another gardener

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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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