Growing Sweet Corn

How to grow sweet corn plantsYou’ve heard the expression “You can’t tell a book by its cover.” Well, you also can’t tell sweet corn by its color.

That’s because the summertime favorite can be found with kernels that are white, yellow, or both. The sweetness comes from how quickly the corn converts sugars to starches. The slower the process, the sweeter the corn.

For most, corn is something that’s bought from supermarket bins or farmer’s market tables. But the truth is, it can be grown with relative ease in your backyard garden. Sweet corn is easily labeled for a clear understand of what you’re getting. There’s SU, which refers to normal sweet corn. SE, SE+ or EH, which means that the normal process of the conversion of sugar to starch has been decreased. SH2 slows that change down even further and indicates super-sweet.

Moisture is key, as is nitrogen in the soil (You’ll probably want to fertilize for a strong crop and again when the stalks are about a two feet high.), we recommend using HyR BRIX® Sweet Corn Fertilizer. As important, though, is room. You’ll be best off planting a few seeds of corn about an inch deep, a foot apart, in rows about three feet from each other. Avoid single long rows. Keep the weeds out, being careful not to damage the stalks in the process.

You’ll know they’re ready when a thumbnail puncture produces a milky discharge. But that doesn’t mean the work is done. You still have to harvest your crop, whether it’s a few ears or a few bushels.  Grab the ear, bend it downward while twisting. Watch our video on how to pick Sweet Corn.

Take advantage of the fact that the corn is coming from your home garden and plot your meals so that the ears can go right from picking to cooking. If not, you can always freeze. But, really, is that what you’ve been growing corn for?

Do you have raccoon problems around your sweet corn patch? Planting some cucumber plants between the rows when you plant the sweet corn will keep them out! Raccoons hate the vines and the cucumbers love the extra shade the corn brings.

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