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  • Writer's pictureStronger Roots

Growing Corn

Updated: May 10, 2022


— A member of the whole grain family; Whole grains are packed with nutrients including protein, fiber, B vitamins, antioxidants, and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper, and magnesium). A diet rich in whole grains has been shown to reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and some forms of cancer

— vitamin A - supports the immune system

— Carotenoids OR pigments (Lutein and Zeaxanthin) help protect your eyes

— Insoluble fiber (helps with digestion) which isn't broken down and absorbed into the bloodstream. Insoluble fiber stays in the GI tract, increases stool bulk, and helps to push waste through your system. This prevents constipation, reduces the risk of hemorrhoids, and may help lower colon cancer risk

— Bone strength/vision/skin


— Sow corn 1 to 1 1/2 in deep. Plant seeds 2-4in apart.

— Germinate in 7 to 10days

— Make sure you’re planting in side by side rows (at least 3)to form a block rather than long rows (Pollination)

— Direct sow 2-3weeks AFTER last frost and when soil temps are at least 60F

— Start seeds inside two weeks before last frost date / transfer in to hole same size at root ball and when two sets of true leaves are visible

❗️Starting indoors not recommended because of the issue of disturbing roots during transfer

❗️Cold wet soil will inhibit germination


— FULL Sun 6+ hours

— Well drained soil

— PH 5.5-6.8

— Grows in temps between 60-95F ; Optimal 65-85F

❗️86F+ growth rate starts to slow

❗️50F lowest range to consider germination/growing (will be slow)/ at least 60F is ideal

❗️Temps BELOW 50F the seed will absorb water but not push out shoots causing rot

— When your plants are 3 to 4 inches tall, thin them so they are 8 to 12 inches apart.

— Add aged compost and manure to planting area before planting.

— Can grow 4-12ft tall depending on variety

— Corn is an extremely heavy feeder, especially on nitrogen (side dress with amendments such as Blood meal & fish emulsion when plants are about 6”-18” tall) / balanced 10-10-10 NPK every 2-3weeks

❗️ Thrives in a place where soil-enriching crops like beans, hairy vetch, or clover grew the previous season

❗️ Yellowing of leaves is a sure sign that the plant needs more nitrogen (N)/ signs of phosphorus (P) deficiencies is the leaves may start to turn purple at the edges

❗️Shallow roots can’t compete with weeds especially first month of growing

— “Hill” every two to three weeks to provide support


— Flowering tassels(male)form at the top of each stalk; pollen falls from the tassels onto silky threads(female) growing from each ear below. Each silk is connected to an unfertilized kernel. Each ear of corn forms as many kernels as the number of silks that were pollinated

— A large corn variety may form one or two harvestable ears on each stalk. A dwarf variety may form two or three harvestable ears per stalk.

❗️When tassels appear avoid overhead watering as water hitting them during pollination will reduce number of kernels on the cob.

❗️ Water stress during pollination will result in ears with lots of missing kernels

❗️ When pollination does not occur the stalk will produce only a cob.

❗️When pollination doesn’t occur, silks continue to grow and turn green vs a successful pollination resulting in them turning brown


🔸Standard- Sugar Enhanced- Super Sweet- Synergistic- (Each different level of sucrose resulting in different flavors and texture)

❗️ Synergistic: These varieties produce ears with a combination of sugary-enhanced kernels and supersweet kernels on each ear

(Space different varieties at least 100 yards apart to avoid cross-pollination)

— (SU) Standard

— Maturing 58-65 days (Early)

— The standard sugary corn, or SU, is well known for its sweet, creamy texture. It should be eaten within a week after harvest for the best taste.

— The high levels of sugars in SU and other sweet varieties are the result of a natural genetic mutation that controls the conversion of sugar to starch in the plant, making it sweet during the milk stage prior to the kernel’s full maturation.

— (SE) Sugary Enhanced

— Maturing 65-69 days (Mid)

— A gene in the SE type causes an increased amount of sugar in the kernels, which also leads to kernels that are more tender.

SE is popular because it retains its taste and texture much longer than SU after harvest

— (SH2) Supersweet

— Maturing 70-73 days (Late)

— In fact, it has four to 10 times the sugar content of varieties of the SU type. SH2 has a very low starch content when the kernels have fully matured.

— (SYN) Synergistic

— Is a hybrid of 25 percent SH2 and 75 percent SE, which makes for crunchy yet tender kernels that hold their flavor well in storage


— Flavor will go downhill fast, as sugars convert to starch

— (About 3 weeks after silk is visible) harvest when tassels begin to turn brown and the silk on the ears has turned brown cobs start to swell.

— Corn is Ripe when juice from the kernels is milky white and get large, chewy and pasty like dough.

— Leave ornamental corn and popcorn on the stalks to dry until the first hard frost. If the weather is cloudy and wet, cut and stack stalks in a cool, dry place until the corn dries

— Corn may be picked early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, kept in the husk and kept cool and shaded.; will keep in good condition for twelve hours, but is at its best if picked immediately before using.


— Store corn in the husk. Place it uncovered in the refrigerator for 1 or 2 days.

❗️Corn stored for more than 2 days loses its sweetness.

— Corn should be wrapped securely in a plastic bag before going in the refrigerator. Wrapping protects and keeps corn moist

— If eating corn within few hrs, you can store at room temp.


PEST : Corn earworm, corn borer, armyworm, flea beetle, grasshopper

❗️Most pest can be rid with BT or garlic juice extract


— Rule of thumb, the sweeter the corn, the more water it will need, and the warmer the soil temperatures must be.

— Baby corn is produced from regular corn plants that are harvested early, while the ears are immature. Regular sweet corn, sugar-enhanced sweet corn, and supersweet corn varieties can be used, along with a few varieties that are specific for baby corn.

— Corn sometimes produces aerial roots a few inches above the soil. These are not meant to absorb water or nutrients, but rather to stabilize the tall stalk.

— If your corn shucks harder than usual, prepare for a cold winter

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