Tips For Growing Corn

How to grow and care for corn in your garden.

Native to the Americas, corn has been great source of food for thousands of years. Whether it is baked or roasted or parched or dried or any of the other number of ways in which it is prepared, it is delicious.

Corn needs much in the way of preparation. Choosing the location for your corn is a priority. It needs good light, good drainage and good fertility. These plants can grow to six feet tall so positioning will be important, if you are growing additional plants nearby.

Seeds need to be planted in very warm soil in order to grow. If you plant them while the ground it still cold, they might just rot instead of actually germinating. You can start early by putting the seeds between moist paper towels but unless your growing season is extremely short, just be patient. You can begin planting just a week after the frost has stopped in the spring.

Test the soil to be sure the temperature is at least 55 degrees. To ensure that you'll get fresh corn on a regular basis, you can start planting one row and add a new row every two weeks.

When plants grow to about a four inches tall, you will need to thin them out. This means taking out any plants that are not wider apart than a foot from each other. This may seem silly, but if you plant them too close, your corn will not grow has big, your plants will not grow as tall.

Weed them carefully; corn grows new roots on top of the old ones. Have plenty of extra soil around for plants that grow too tall that they begin to lean over. Just cover the new roots well with the new soil to hold leaning plants down.

It was an old tale that taking the suckers or the little plants that grow of the bigger plants was harmful in the growth plan. In new studies, scientists have shown these little plants to actually be beneficial, so it's okay to leave them on.

Most of the problems you might have with growing corn will come from Earworms and wildlife.

Earworms are white or green or even red and they feed off the kernels. There are sprays you can get at greenhouses that contain horticultural oil and Bt. If you spray this on every two weeks, you'll be rid of these pesky invaders.

If wildlife has access to your garden, they'll highly enjoy your corn stalks. Keep them out might be hard, as nothing less than an 8-foot electric fence might not even keep them out. You can protect ears of corn by covering them with paper bags. You can also play a radio in a garden; the noise will keep away most animals. You can also deposit bars of deodorant soap or even heavy oil perfumes will keep little critters away.

Once it is time to harvest, it is easy to tell when ears are ripe. A ripe ear of corn has a dark green husk and you can see full size kernels at the top of the ear. If you poke a hole in one of the kernels, you should see milky white juice instead of clear liquid.

If taken seriously, corn can be a great harvesting crop. Since corn can be made into so many different things, it's a great addition to any garden.

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