All About Growing Sweet Corn

Your all-inclusive guide to growing sweet corn. Read about the sweet corn varieties best suited to home gardens, when and how to plant sweet corn seed, disease and pest prevention, and harvesting and seed saving.

  • Sweet Corn
    Everyone loves sweet corn — why not plant your own?
    Illustration by Keith Ward
  • Corn on the Cob
    You can boil, steam or grill full ears, cut off whole kernels or make creamed corn.
    Illustration by Keith Ward

  • Sweet Corn
  • Corn on the Cob

(For details on growing many other vegetables and fruits, visit our Crop at a Glance collection page.)

Isn’t it time to make mouthwatering sweet corn one of your hit crops this summer? Growing sweet corn requires warm soil (above 65 degrees Fahrenheit) so early summer is prime planting time. To stretch your harvest season, grow both early and midseason sweet corn varieties.

Types of Sweet Corn to Try

Open-pollinated sweet corn varieties offer traditional corn flavor, but rapidly convert sugar to starch, so they must be picked at just the right time. They often require less fertilizer than hybrids, and seeds can be saved from year to year.

Kernels of sugary-enhanced hybrid varieties remain sweet for a week or more, and feature tender texture combined with rich corn flavor.

Super-sweet hybrids produce exceptionally sweet, crisp kernels good for freezing. Super-sweet varieties must be planted at least 30 feet from other types of sweet corn to prevent cross pollination, which ruins their flavor.

Synergistic sweet corn varieties have a balance of sugary-enhanced and super-sweet kernels.

7/28/2013 11:08:50 AM

I've planted an heirloom blue corn for a few years. I got seeds from a local era-stylr urban homestead the city supports. I got a beautiful crop of strong 12 foot tall plants with perfect ears of quality bue corn. Since it was heirloom, I tried saving seeds the next year, but the plants were all wonky, with two and even 3 pairs of suckers gowing out the base, and strange development where the corn is supposed to generate. I suspect the strain as contaminated by pollen from an outside source. Can anyone tell me a way to isolate the pollination so I can save seeds?

5/12/2013 11:41:36 PM

This is my first year of serious gardening.  I have planted 5 rows of G90 sweet corn.  They are coming up but kind of spindly.  I followed proper planting directions and amended the soil before planted.  Did I do something wrong? Or am I missing something?  Most everything else is doing great.  We did have a cold snap the first weekend in May.  I am in Arkansas.  Thanks!

6/22/2012 10:16:52 PM

Hello people, I'm growing white corn, now can't tell when to harvest it. The ears looks big enough, silks are brown, I think I planted early April. Shoul I wait till 4 th of July ? Any advice.

Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 64% Off the Cover Price

50 Years of Money-Saving Tips!

Mother Earth NewsAt MOTHER EARTH NEWS for 50 years and counting, we are dedicated to conserving our planet's natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. You'll find tips for slashing heating bills, growing fresh, natural produce at home, and more. That's why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.95 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.95 for 6 issues.

Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
International Subscribers - Click Here
Canadian subscriptions: 1 year (includes postage & GST).

Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter flipboard

Free Product Information Classifieds Newsletters