I’ve always been fascinated by corn. I would see the tall grass-like stalks and reveled at the first signs of tassels forming. I liked eating sweet corn right off the stalk and was amazed at the different hues of kernels produced by Indian corn. No matter which type you prefer, here are 5 tips on growing corn you might find useful.
5. Sow Directly in the Soil
Corn is one of those crops that do best by simply planting the seed directly into the ground, instead of starting seeds indoors during the early spring. It’s also necessary to place corn plants fairly close to one another, since corn is pollinated by the wind.
4. Be Ready for Competition
I’m not referring to your neighbor’s luscious corn crop either, but to the large number of wild critters eyeing your ever maturing crop. Their game is to see who can harvest the corn first; you or them. Keeping the wild animals from raiding your garden can be a full time job.
3. Water Often
It is extremely important to make sure your corn crop has plenty of water, unless you don’t mind shriveled corn on the cob. Curling leaves is a sign that your corn needs some water. Also, be sure to not slack on watering when the kernels begin to develop.
2. Keep an Eye out for Fungus and Insects
Corn borers and flea beetles are two common pests on corn plants. Smut is also a gray-black fungus that plagues corn and both this fungus and these pests can be easily controlled with some outside help. It’s a good idea to take a peek at random corn plants from time to time and make sure they look healthy.
1. Don’t Harvest Too Early
When your corn is ready to harvest, the first sign you will notice is a brown tassel on each plant. Don’t only go by this though; be sure to gently feel each ear of corn. You want to only pick the ears that are rounded at the end, not pointed. These ears of corn should also feel full if the kernels are completely developed.
I wish you lots of success with your corn-planting endeavor. Sweet corn has one of the longest growing seasons among corn plants, so be sure to plant seeds early enough to give them plenty of growing time. Have you had much luck with growing corn? What tips do you have for people who are thinking about growing corn for themselves?
Top Photo Credit: Farm and Dairy