Sweet corn is a great vegetable to consume in order to maintain a balanced and nutritious diet. However, during the summer months bushels of corn become more expensive due to drought. To avoid this families are beginning to grow corn from home.
As summer approaches the threat of drought increases which in turn increases the cost of each bushel of corn. To prevent overspending at the grocery store many families are beginning to grow their own sweet corn, as well as many other fruits and vegetables, right from their very own homes. Growing sweet corn from home is actually fairly easy and takes just a few months from seed to harvest. To begin growing sweet corn the seeds will need to be first properly planted, than grown, and finally harvested in order to provide the family with fresh tasting corn.
To begin the germination stage the last frost will have to have already passed. Depending upon the region in which the sweet corn is being planted the date of the last frost may vary. For example, in the Southeast the last frost usually takes place between the beginning and mid May and in the Northwest the last frost usually takes place around the beginning of June. In order to ensure that the seeds sow properly begin by placing 3 to 4 seeds in holes that have been dug about an inch deep. Each hole should be spaced 12 to 18 inches apart evenly and in rows 2 to 3 feet apart. The germination stage takes about 7 to 10 days before signs of sprouting will begin to occur.
Due to the fact that sweet corn cross pollinates the sweet corn should be planted in blocks in order to guarantee that the male plant’s tassels pollinate the ears of the female plants no matter which way the wind blows. As the sweet corn grows nutrients and water will need to be fed to the plants intravenously. The best time for this will be during morning hours so that the corn plants can undergo proper photosynthesis while in direct sunlight throughout the day. Make sure that the soil surrounding the stalk of the corn plant is dry up to one inch deep otherwise over watering may occur.
The entire growth phase of the corn plants takes roughly 60 to 95 days from germination to harvest. Depending upon the region that the sweet corn has been planted harvesting may take place between the beginning of September and October. The sweet corn will be ready to harvest once the kernels fill the entire husk. In order to determine this simply peel back a part of the husk to view the cob if the kernels are so plump that they are touching the ear than harvesting may begin.
Pests such as caterpillars, spider mites, and aphids will need to be kept to a minimum as they feed on not just the sweet corn but the foliage and corn stalks as well. If not kept to a minimum these pests can destroy an entire sweet corn garden. To rid these pests from the garden various pesticides and insecticides may be used as long as the proper flushing cycle is administered afterwards to avoid consuming them. Fungal organisms such as white mold and leaf spots may also occur if over watering occurs during warm humid weather. To prevent this simply reduce the amount of watering and allow the plants time to thoroughly dry.
“Growing Sweet Corn in the Backyard Garden.” By Robert Cox, Colorado State University Extension horticulture agent