Corn on the cob is one of the best things about summer meals and it’s even better if you grow it yourself! Here are some of our best tips for how to grow sweet corn!
We started growing sweet corn a few years ago and while we always get something out of it, we’ve definitely had our share of failures throughout each growing season as well. Chris has definitely spent the most time of any of us learning how to grow sweet corn over the years. It’s kind of his baby when it comes to the garden. 🙂 He’s tried quite a few different things and has finally settled on several things that he does that always seem to work best. I thought I’d share a few of his tips today since we’re right at the start of sweet corn growing season and it’s something that we’re all anticipating and thinking about right now.
How to Grow Sweet Corn: Getting Started
The first thing that we’ve found to be really important is the seeds that we use. We have a little plastic tub with a lid where we keep all of our seeds leftover from previous years so we usually start with using those up when we’re planting our garden in the spring.
It never fails: The corn seeds leftover from the year before never work for us. Ever.
It’s the strangest thing because almost everything else grows just fine using older seeds, but we’re always scratching out heads for the first few weeks when everything else is coming up, but there’s no sign of life from the corn.
After a few weeks, we always end up buying new seeds at the garden centre and of course they grow perfectly from that point on. So always start with fresh seeds. 🙂
Garden Soil for Growing Corn
We always try to keep our soil fairly high in nutrients throughout the year, but we find it really helps speed things along with the corn when we go a little further with the soil. A lot of things are great with just our regular garden soil, but the corn likes a little something extra.
All we do is plant the seeds as we normally would (this trick for super straight rows works well), but when we go to replace the soil on top over the seeds, we use a high quality “black earth” type of top soil to cover the seeds up instead. Of course you can use your own compost as well if you have that handy. We find ourselves with an over abundance of garden soil over here so we don’t take this extra step with everything, but with the corn it really seems to help.
One other thing to note is that we find that our corn likes a lot of water. We often turn the sprinkler on the veggie garden in the evenings during dry spells, but even on the days where we don’t really need to water everything, we still try to give the corn a little drink.
Make sure you do multiple plantings of corn so you’ll be able to enjoy it fresh from the garden throughout the late summer. We usually plant another 2 rows or so every 2 weeks and that lets us have enough corn for dinner once or twice per week during the late summer weeks.
Here’s my other favourite thing about corn: When you’re done harvesting, it makes great fall decor! You can read about how to dry it properly to use for decorating your fall porch here: How to Dry Corn Stalks for Fall Decor.
As you can see, it’s really simple to grow sweet corn once you get the hang of it and it’s definitely worth some of the extra effort it takes to get it going early on in the season. If you’ve had trouble with growing corn in the past, try a few of the simple tips I shared today and see if they make a difference!
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Courtenay Hartford is the author of creeklinehouse.com, a blog based on her adventures renovating a 120-year-old farmhouse in rural Ontario, Canada. On her blog, Courtenay shares interior design tips based on her own farmhouse and her work as founder and stylist of the interior photography firm Art & Spaces. She also writes about her farmhouse garden, plant-based recipes, family travel, and homekeeping best practices. Courtenay is the author of the book The Cleaning Ninja and has been featured in numerous magazines including Country Sampler Farmhouse Style, Better Homes and Gardens, Parents Magazine, Real Simple, and Our Homes.