Sweet Corn – An All American Table Delight

Corn was discovered by the Europeans growing in the New World ‘the Americas’.

Sweet corn requires a very fertile soil and is a heavy water usage crop that requires full sun exposure to do well.
Corn germinates between 65 and 85 degrees and will most often fail at soil temperatures below 55 degrees. Germination time is 5 to 7 days. Supersweet hybrids may take as long as 10 days to germinate.

Plant sweet corn in blocks of at least 4 rows of a single hybrid (as opposed to fewer, longer rows) for good pollination and well filled ears.
Plant seeds 1 inch deep and 6 inches apart in rows 24 to 30 inches apart. Thin seedlings so plants are spaced 10 to 12 inches apart. An increased seeding rate ensures you get a good stand if soils are cold a little dry or you are using seed that has not been treated with fungicide. (Untreated seed has natural color. Treated seed is most often dyed red.)

Hint Corn is a heavy feeder particularly of nitrogen and may require several sidedressings of a general purpose fertilizer, something like NPK 10-10-10 or 13-13-13 for best yields. Look for signs of nutrient deficiency. Purple tinged leaves are a sign of phosphorus deficiency. Pale green leaves are a sign of nitrogen deficiency.

Insect Pest Corn borer. Destroy cornstalks in fall to kill overwintering larvae of the Corn Borer.
Corn earworms. Plant early to avoid corn earworm invasion.

Those sweet corn experts tell me that Sweet corn hybrids come in different levels of sweetness.

Normal (su) – These hybrids are flavorful, stress tolerant, and vigorous growers. But they aren’t as sweet as other hybrids and their sugar starts turning to starch quickly after picking.

Sugar enhanced (se, se+, EH, Everlasting Heritage) Fall between normal and supersweet hybrids in terms of vigor, stress tolerance, flavor, sweetness, and how quickly their sugar changes to starch.

Supersweet (sh2, shrunken) These hybrids contain two to three times more sugar than normal hybrids, and the sugar in their kernels changes to starch very slowly after harvest. But they aren’t as vigorous as normal hybrids, are more easily stressed by cold and other problems, and often lack the corn flavor or normal hybrids. Hint They must be isolated from Normal and Sugar enhanced varieties pollinating within 10 to 14 days by at least 25 feet, or the kernels will be tough and starchy.

Not from the USA. Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

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Why is common sense so uncommon?
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3 responses to “Sweet Corn – An All American Table Delight

  1. Thanks for the info. Grew corn with some success when I first started gardening but the next year = nada. Beginner’s luck perhaps – but I am going to try again this year 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mmmm… most every time I have a small/failed corn crop I can trace it back to allowing my corn crop become dry stressed.
      Happy productive corn crop


      • Yes, I think it was the lack of watering – in conjunction with old seeds. My garden is already baked and cracking but this year I am determined to keep watering!


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