Corn — or maize, because it’s identified in a lot of the world — is essentially the most planted crop in the US. In agriculture, corn is grown for human consumption, spirits, animal feed and even gas and disposable containers. Within the dwelling backyard, this warm-season crop is often grown for one cause: to benefit from the unmatched taste of a fresh-picked ear of corn. If you wish to develop corn in your backyard, right here is every thing you have to know.

It’s also possible to obtain my How Do I Develop Corn? one-sheet and hold the free useful resource helpful in your reference.

Corn is a grass similar to wheat and oats, although corn stalks are usually a lot taller — as excessive as an elephant’s eye, as they are saying. Corn that stays within the subject till the kernels are arduous and dry is taken into account a grain whereas corn that’s picked when the kernels are plump and juicy is taken into account a vegetable. 

House gardeners develop candy corn greater than every other kind of corn, however some additionally develop popcorn, flint corn and flour corn. 

In case your want is to get pleasure from corn on the cob, you wish to develop candy corn. Corn on the cob will be steamed, boiled or roasted after which served with salt and butter or quite a lot of spices. Elote, or Mexican road corn, is corn on the cob ready with cotija cheese, mayonnaise, crema and chili powder. Candy corn will also be faraway from the cob to be loved by itself, in a medley with different greens and in soup, chili or salsa.

Flint corn is available in all the colours of the rainbow. It’s the corn you usually see utilized in fall decorations, nevertheless it’s edible too. It’s the kind of corn that’s historically used to make hominy, which, in flip, is used for making tortillas.

Flour corn is the kind of corn most frequently used to make corn flour, whereas popcorn — you guessed it — is grown particularly for making popped corn. 



You possibly can develop candy corn, flint corn, flour corn and popcorn in your backyard. You’re solely limitation is how a lot area you’ve.


The place, When & Plant Corn

Corn grows greatest in loamy, well-drained soil underneath full solar — six to eight hours of unfiltered daylight every day. Put together the backyard mattress by turning a beneficiant quantity of compost and/or aged manure into the highest 8 to 10 inches of soil. Amending the soil will assist the backyard drain correctly whereas additionally enhancing fertility, which is significant for a profitable corn crop. Carry on prime of eradicating weeds which can be competing with corn seedlings for water, vitamins and area. 

The soil pH ought to be someplace between 6.0 and seven.0, which is barely acidic. When the pH is within the appropriate vary, the vegetation can be higher capable of take up vitamins from the soil. A soil take a look at will let you recognize the pH degree and how you can alter it, if vital. This often requires including lime to the soil however you gained’t know the way little or how a lot lime so as to add till you’ve had your soil examined. Contact your native cooperative extension about having a soil take a look at achieved. The outcomes will even reveal any micronutrient deficiencies that should be resolved with soil amendments.

Use pathogen-free seed from a trusted supply. Corn seed can stay viable for one to 3 years if saved in splendid situations. 

Corn will be direct sown within the backyard or began indoors. The time for indoor seed beginning is 4 weeks earlier than you intend to transplant the seedlings exterior. As a result of corn thrives in heat climate, don’t attempt to begin corn any sooner than the directions on the seed packet advocate. The proper beginning time differs from one selection to the subsequent. Some varieties are extra tolerant of chilly than others and a few mature extra rapidly than others. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all begin date for planting corn in your area.

For indoor seed beginning, sow seeds 2 inches deep in sterile seed-starting combine, one seed per cell. Corn will germinate in soil that’s as cool as 50°F, however it’s going to take three weeks. The optimum soil temperature vary is 60° to 95°. In that vary, count on emergence in 12 days or fewer. A seedling warmth mat will increase the temperature of the seed beginning combine for quicker germination. Maintain the seedling underneath a develop gentle so they won’t stretch out in quest of solar.


corn seedlings

Corn seedlings could also be bought or you can begin your personal indoors.


Previous to planting the seedlings outside, harden them off. Put seedlings out for only a half-hour on the primary day and add extra time outside every day for per week till they’re able to deal with eight hours of direct daylight every day.

Corn seedlings will also be bought from backyard facilities in spring. Whereas that is extra handy than beginning seeds by yourself, it’s dearer and there can be fewer varieties obtainable in comparison with buying seeds.

If direct sowing, chorus from planting till the soil temperature has reached 50°. An affordable soil thermometer may give you a fast studying.

Plant one seed or seedling each 4 to six inches in rows spaced 30 inches aside. As a result of corn is wind pollinated, one row of corn is unlikely to provide ears. A number of brief rows — as a substitute of 1 or two lengthy ones — will pollinate readily.

In the event you want to lengthen your harvest window, plant extra rows two weeks after your preliminary planting. 


corn rows

Plant corn in brief rows so the wind can blow pollen between vegetation.


Corn Varieties

Avalon is a candy corn with tender white kernels. The ears develop to eight inches and this selection is proof against northern corn leaf blight, southern corn leaf blight and southwestern corn borer. Avalon matures in 82 days.

Large N’ Tender has a mixture of white and yellow kernels on 8-inch ears. The vegetation develop as much as 8 toes tall and have resistance to northern corn leaf blight and Stewart’s wilt. This candy corn selection matures in 79 days.

Cafe is a fast-growing candy corn that matures in simply 68 days. The tender kernels are sunny yellow on ears that develop to between 7½ and eight inches. It might probably deal with cooler soil temperatures so it may be planted somewhat early. It has resistance to Stewart’s wilt and rust.

Calico is an heirloom flint corn with yellow, brown, white, purple, pink and blue kernels on 6-inch ears. It may be grown as decorative corn or for popping. It matures in 90 to 105 days.

Dakota Black is an open-pollinated popcorn that has pointed darkish pink kernels which can be practically black. The ears develop to be 5 to 7 inches and can be utilized as decorative corn or for popping. The vegetation are 4 to six toes tall and the crop matures in 95 days.

Jerry Petersen Blue is an open-pollinated flour corn selection that makes blue corn flour. The ears are 7 to eight inches lengthy when prepared to reap and will also be used for decorative corn. The vegetation are 7 toes tall. This selection matures in 105 days.

Glass Gem is an open-pollinated flint corn that produces three or 4 ears per  6-to-7-foot plant. The ears develop to be 3 to eight inches lengthy with kernels in an array of colours and patterns. This selection has nice decorative worth and can also be used for cornmeal and popcorn. It matures in 110 to 120 days.

My Truthful Girl is a candy corn meant for natural rising practices. The ears are bicolor (white and yellow kernels) and develop to be 7 or 8 inches lengthy. The vegetation develop solely 5 toes in top however are excessive yielding. This selection matures in 78 days.

Solstice is an early bicolor candy corn selection with vigorous seedlings that mature in simply 68 days. The vegetation develop 6 toes tall and the ears are 7 ½ inches when prepared to reap. Solstice has resistance to northern corn leaf blight. 

Sugar Buns is a sugar-enhanced candy corn with creamy yellow kernels on 7½-inch ears. The vegetation develop to be 5 to six toes tall. Sugar Buns has resistance to northern corn leaf blight and Stewart’s wilt and matures in 70 to 80 days. 


colored corn

Corn is available in all the colours of the rainbow.


Watering Corn

Water-stressed corn vegetation will produce ears with lacking kernels, so it’s essential to remain on prime of watering a corn crop. One inch of water per week is all that’s wanted, together with rainfall and supplemental watering. Each time it rains lower than an inch in per week, make up the distinction with soaker hoses or a drip irrigation system. Keep away from overhead watering, which might promote illness and likewise disrupts the pollen on the corn stalks. 

In the event you stick your finger 2 inches into the soil and it comes out dry, it’s previous time to use water. In the event you discover that the backyard is drying out rapidly and/or corn vegetation are wilting in the course of the hottest days of summer season, step up your watering schedule to use 1 and a half inches per week.

Fertilizing Corn

Corn is a heavy feeder that wants a variety of nitrogen. Previous to planting, amend the soil with compost, well-rotted manure and/or a “inexperienced manure” similar to clover or vetch. This can get your crop off to begin.

Aspect costume with natural fertilizer that’s wealthy in nitrogen similar to blood meal, feather meal, hen manure, alfalfa meal or cottonseed meal when corn stalks are 10 inches tall. Apply once more when the corn begins to tassel. 


Corn plants

Corn vegetation require a variety of nitrogen to provide huge ears.


Corn Pests & Illnesses

Corn has quite a few pest and illness points however they are often overcome by selecting resistant varieties, practising crop rotation and using natural controls. Putting in floating row cowl over seedlings can cease many insect pests from ever laying their eggs on vegetation. The row cowl is a bodily barrier that should be eliminated as soon as the vegetation get a bit taller, however within the time that it’s in place, it makes an enormous distinction.

Armyworms are striped moth larvae that feed on corn foliage throughout cool, moist springs. Eggs and caterpillars will be eliminated by hand. An alternative choice for armyworm management is Bacillus thuringiensis, referred to as Bt, an natural management for moth and butterfly larvae that’s protected round people and pets and won’t hurt different wildlife. 

Frequent stalk borers are moth larvae. These purple and white striped caterpillars tunnel in corn stalks. Take away and destroy infested vegetation. They lay eggs in fall on grasses and weeds, so being a vigilant weeder is one of the best ways to defend your corn. 

Corn earworms are additionally moth larvae. The moths lay single eggs on corn silks, and the eggs hatch three to 4 days later. The caterpillars have orange or brown heads with our bodies that could be yellow, pink, inexperienced or some mixture of these colours. A number of larvae could infest the identical ear of corn at first, however because the larvae develop they turn out to be aggressive towards each other. Often, only one earworm makes it to full measurement per ear. Corn earworms and tomato fruitworms are one and the identical, and this pest assaults quite a lot of different crops as nicely. Pheromone traps can be utilized to provide you with a warning when these moths have discovered your backyard. Apply Bt or mineral oil to corn silks to organically management earworms.


corn earworm

Corn earworm moths lay single eggs on corn silks, and the eggs hatch three to 4 days later. A number of larvae could infest the identical ear of corn at first, however because the larvae develop they turn out to be aggressive towards each other. Often, only one earworm makes it to full measurement per ear.


Corn borers are moth larvae and there are multiple species that might be current in your area, together with the southwestern corn borer and the European corn borer. They tunnel into leaves, stalks and ears. Use pheromone traps to detect the moths and apply Bt to manage the caterpillars. 

Corn flea beetles are tiny black leaping leaf beetles, simply an eighth of an inch lengthy, that transmit Stewart’s wilt. There are chewing bugs that harm corn foliage. Floating row cowl can hold flea beetles from damaging weak seedlings. 

Corn leaf aphids are blue-green sap-sucking bugs that assault the corn foliage. Their exercise can even disrupt corn pollination. Aphids are small, however when their inhabitants proliferates, they’ll stunt or kill a corn plant. They excrete honeydew, which is a sugary substance that draws ants and creates a black sooty mildew. Maintain aphids off corn with row cowl and take away weeds that will even be aphid hosts vegetation. In the event you do discover aphids in your vegetation, management them with a pointy blast of water. As soon as they’re knocked down this manner, they gained’t have the ability to get again on the vegetation. Girl beetles, inexperienced lacewings and syrphid flies are all useful bugs that prey on aphids. Chorus from utilizing pesticides that can kill these useful predators.

Corn rootworms are cream-colored beetle larvae which can be ⅜ of an inch lengthy with three pairs of legs. The eggs overwinter in soil earlier than the rootworms hatch in June or July and assault corn roots and root nodes. The grownup beetles will assault the silks. They are often picked off by hand. Apply crop rotation to stop this pest from increase its inhabitants within the soil.

Cutworms feed on roots and stems of younger corn vegetation. The larvae overwinter as eggs or larvae, so row cowl gained’t resolve a cutworm problem. If cutworms are a identified downside in your backyard, flip up the primary couple of inches of soil two weeks earlier than planting time to show the larvae to birds, which is able to cut back the variety of overwintering pests considerably. Paper collars positioned round every corn plant and pressed into the soil at planting time can hold cutworms at bay.

Flea beetles are chewing bugs. They’re tiny black or bronze leaping leaf beetles, simply an eighth of an inch lengthy. Floating row cowl can hold flea beetles at bay. One other technique is to plant a lure crop of radishes, which flea beetles choose over turnips.

Japanese beetles are an issue for corn as a result of they lower the silks, which prevents pollination. An grownup Japanese beetle is about 3/eighth of an inch lengthy. Its wing covers seem metallic — like copper with inexperienced fluorescence — whereas its stomach has 5 tufts of white hair on all sides. A Japanese beetle larva is a white grub that grows to an inch lengthy. Grubs are discovered within the soil in a curled place. Grubs will be managed with Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (Btg), milky spore and parasitic nematodes, and adults will be organically managed with Btg and by hand choosing. For full data, learn my information to Japanese Beetle Prevention & Management.  

Seedcorn maggots are fly larvae which can be white, legless and a quarter-inch lengthy. They feed on seeds and are largely an issue in cool, moist climate and in gardens the place manure has been utilized. Seedcorn maggots overwinter as pupae within the soil. Turning the soil two weeks earlier than planting time will expose the larvae to birds and different predators. Apply crop rotation to stop their populations from increase.

Slugs can defoliate and kill corn vegetation. For a extreme infestation, a bait like Sluggo, which incorporates iron phosphate, is a protected, natural choice.

Wireworms are click on beetle larvae that may spend between one and 6 years in soil earlier than they emerge as adults. They’re between a half-inch and three inches lengthy and may kill corn seedlings and harm vegetation which can be additional alongside of their improvement. In the event you suspect your backyard has a wireworm problem, put a potato piece 4 inches deep within the soil and mark it. After per week, dig up the potato and examine it for wireworms. You possibly can’t do something about wireworms as corn is rising, however within the weeks previous to planting time, you possibly can flip the soil a number of instances to show the wireworms to birds.  



You possibly can’t do something about wireworms as corn is rising, however within the weeks previous to planting time, you possibly can flip the soil a number of instances to show the wireworms to birds.


Corn vegetation will be affected by numerous plant ailments, together with Anthracnose, rust, loopy prime (Sclerophthora macrospora), leaf spot, leaf blight, maize dwarf mosaic virus and Stewart’s wilt. Other than preserving pathogen-transmitting pests off seedlings, one of the best prevention for plant ailments is crop rotation. In the event you plant corn in the identical spot for a number of years, corn pathogens will construct up within the soil. As a substitute, wait 4 years earlier than planting corn in the identical spot once more. 

 Harvesting Corn

Corn usually produces one to 2 ears per stalk, although there are higher-yielding varieties to be discovered. 

For candy corn, the ears are prepared to reap when the silks flip from gentle yellow to darkish brown. Wait to reap flint corn till simply earlier than the primary fall frost. Popcorn and flour corn ought to be harvested when the kernels are arduous and shiny.

Choose candy corn early within the morning, when the kernels can be on the highest moisture ranges. To reap any kind of corn, grasp the ear, twist and pull downward.  

Maintain candy corn of their husks till able to cook dinner. If roasting the corn, the husks can really keep on whereas the corn cooks. Eat the kernels proper off the cob or take away the kernels from contemporary or roasted corn with a pointy knife. Raw kernels will also be frozen or canned.

Retailer flint corn, flour corn and popcorn in a dry place. Peel again the husk and dangle the ears to permit the kernels to dry out additional.


Sweet corn

Candy corn is able to harvest when the silks flip from gentle yellow to darkish brown.


What are your secrets and techniques to rising corn efficiently? Tell us within the feedback beneath.

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Hyperlinks & Assets

Some product hyperlinks on this information are affiliate hyperlinks. See full disclosure beneath.

Episode 094: Begin and Look after Seedlings Indoors: My Steps for Success

Episode 99: Understanding Crop Rotation: The Fundamentals and Past, with Jack Algiere

Episode 195: Figuring out and Controlling Backyard Pests Organically

Episode 204: Hardening Off and Setting Vegetation Up for Success in Spring

joegardener weblog: Powdery Mildew Prevention & Management 

joegardener weblog: How Do I Develop Artichokes?

joegardener weblog: How Do I Develop Beets?

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joegardener weblog: How Do I Develop Swiss Chard?

joegardener weblog: How Do I Develop Tomatoes?

joegardener weblog: How Do I Develop Winter Squash?

joegardener weblog: Japanese Beetle Prevention & Management

How Do I Develop Corn? one-sheet

joegardener On-line Gardening Academy™: Three well-liked programs on gardening fundamentals; managing pests, ailments & weeds; and seed beginning!

joegardener On-line Gardening Academy Starting Gardener Fundamentals: Important ideas to know to create a thriving backyard.

joegardener On-line Gardening Academy Excellent Soil Recipe Grasp Class: Learn to create the proper soil surroundings for thriving vegetation.

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Floating row cowl

Soil thermometer

Disclosure: Some product hyperlinks on this information are affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests we’d get a fee if you are going to buy. Nevertheless, not one of the costs of those assets have been elevated to compensate us. Not one of the objects included on this record have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing issue on their inclusion right here. The collection of all objects featured on this submit and podcast have been based mostly solely on benefit and by no means influenced by any affiliate or monetary incentive, or contractual relationship. On the time of this writing, Joe Lamp’l has skilled relationships with the next corporations who could have merchandise included on this submit and podcast: Rain Hen, Corona Instruments, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, Greenhouse Megastore, Excessive Mowing Natural Seeds, Territorial Seed Firm, Wild Alaskan Seafood Field and TerraThrive. These corporations are both Model Companions of joegardener.com and/or promote on our web site. Nevertheless, we obtain no extra compensation from the gross sales or promotion of their product by means of this information. The inclusion of any merchandise talked about inside this submit is totally impartial and unique of any relationship.


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