How to Grow Sweet Corn

Learning how to grow sweet corn is easier than you think and you can reap the many rewards, such as having your own popping corn.


| May 28, 2013



Growing Your Own Vegetables

“Greens!” provides step-by-step principles of organic gardening along with instructive and beautiful photographs. Experienced and budding gardeners alike will find a source for inspiration in this handy guide.


Cover Courtesy Skyhorse Publishing

You can grow your own vegetables whether you own your own home or live in an apartment. Author Karin Eliasson gives advice on growing over 100 vegetables as well as how to use them in the kitchen. In this excerpt taken from Greens! (Skyhorse Publishing, 2013) learn how to grow sweet corn, from cultivating corn to harvesting it.

You can purchase this book at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS store: Greens!.

Corn brings us to warmer shores and Mexican hats. But it is very possible to grow corn in colder climates as well. It is even pretty easy, as long as you keep in mind that corn needs a little extra warmth and shelter from the wind to feel at home. In southern and middle Sweden they cultivate a lot of sweet corn (Zea mays var. saccharata), which is the most common corn to cultivate in the garden, but it’s also a food source for animals. Self-picking is also common. Even though I’ve started to grow my own corn to secure a few well-filled plastic bags in the freezer, I can still find charm in the large corn fields. I gladly take a stroll among the tall plants now and then to experience the sensation of being lost. As a child, I would keep an eye on my mother’s legs on the row next to mine, so that the fear that I would never get out would decrease. The fields are intriguing.

Corn is definitely one of the growths I often place in the children’s garden corner. Most children like corn, no matter if they’re large corn cobs or cute mini kernels. Furthermore, the seeds are large and even small children’s hands manage to stick them in the right place. Since the corn preferably grows in large groups, you can play with the shapes when you set them out and make wavy roads between the groups. The corn (Zea mays everta) used for popcorn is especially exciting. Imagine growing your own popcorn! It is a somewhat different corn cob than the ones we are used to eating, a smaller and tightknit cob with tiny kernels. It needs a little more time to mature, so if you don’t live in a more temperate climate you should grow them in a greenhouse or start pre-cultivating early.

Since corn is one of the world’s most cultivated seeds, there is obviously a whole sea of varieties. Cultivating in the North does, however, set certain requirements that the corn cannot be too sensitive to cold and that the fruit grow early and ripen fast. It is therefore best to keep to the varieties that are already tested in your climate.

How to Grow Sweet Corn

Preparing the Growth Site

c
6/21/2013 10:04:18 AM

Sorry for the multiple posts... not sure how I managed to do that...


c
6/21/2013 10:01:25 AM

Mineral oil!  I tried this last year, and it worked well.  Use pharmacy-grade mineral oil ($3/pint). I used a small syringe that is used to give oral meds to pets.  When the corn silk begins to turn brown, part the silk slightly and squirt about 1/2 tsp. right at the tip of the new ear of corn.

DO NOT apply oil before the silk turns slightly brown, or it will interfere with pollination. The worm don't come until the corn begins to make sugar.

I had NO worms, and no residual oil film or taste. My corn was great.  Apparently the Amish use this method.

 


c
6/21/2013 9:54:09 AM

Mineral oil!  I tried this last year, and it worked well.  Use pharmacy-grade mineral oil ($3/pint). I used a small syringe that is used to give oral meds to pets.  When the corn silk begins to turn brown, part the silk slightly and squirt about 1/2 tsp. right at the tip of the new ear of corn.

DO NOT apply oil before the silk turns slightly brown, or it will interfere with pollination. The worm don't come until the corn begins to make sugar.

I had NO worms, and no residual oil film or taste. My corn was great.  Apparently the Amish use this method.

 


c
6/21/2013 12:35:57 AM

I tried this last year and it worked well.  Put about 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. of pharmacy grade mineral oil ($3-4Pint) right at the point where the silk is coming out from the tip of the corn. Do this when the silk first appears.  I used a syringe that is used for giving pets oral meds.

No worms and perfect corn! no residual flavor or oil on corn either.


archangel
6/14/2013 8:53:43 PM

So.

No mention of Monsanto's GM pollen contaminating your crop?

We are surrounded by commercial corn fields, and they all use that Monsanto GM crap.


scott16475
6/3/2013 9:27:29 AM

Any ideas on how to keep the moths and worms out of the corn? I hate picking the corn, pulling back the 'cover', and finding worms inside. Any ideas? Thank you!






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