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 gasoline and disposable containers. Within the house backyard, this warm-season crop is normally 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 all the things you might want to know.

You may also obtain my How Do I Develop Corn? one-sheet and preserve the free useful resource helpful on your reference.

Corn is a grass similar to wheat and oats, although corn stalks are sometimes a lot taller — as excessive as an elephant’s eye, as they are saying. Corn that stays within the discipline till the kernels are onerous 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. 

Residence gardeners develop candy corn greater than some 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 might be steamed, boiled or roasted after which served with salt and butter or a wide range 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 typically see utilized in fall decorations, but it surely’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’ll be able to develop candy corn, flint corn, flour corn and popcorn in your backyard. You’re solely limitation is how a lot house you may have.


The place, When & Methods to Plant Corn

Corn grows finest in loamy, well-drained soil underneath full solar — six to eight hours of unfiltered daylight each 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 important for a profitable corn crop. Carry on high of eradicating weeds which can be competing with corn seedlings for water, vitamins and house. 

The soil pH ought to be someplace between 6.0 and seven.0, which is barely acidic. When the pH is within the right vary, the vegetation will probably be higher in a position to take up vitamins from the soil. A soil check will let you realize the pH stage and the right way to alter it, if essential. This normally 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 may have had your soil examined. Contact your native cooperative extension about having a soil check achieved. The outcomes can even reveal any micronutrient deficiencies that must be resolved with soil amendments.

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

Corn might be direct sown within the backyard or began indoors. The time for indoor seed beginning is 4 weeks earlier than you propose to transplant the seedlings outdoors. As a result of corn thrives in heat climate, don’t attempt to begin corn any sooner than the directions on the seed packet suggest. The right beginning time differs from one selection to the following. Some varieties are extra tolerant of chilly than others and a few mature extra shortly 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, anticipate emergence in 12 days or fewer. A seedling warmth mat will elevate the temperature of the seed beginning combine for sooner germination. Preserve the seedling underneath a develop mild so they won’t stretch out in quest of solar.


corn seedlings

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


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

Corn seedlings will also be bought from backyard facilities in spring. Whereas that is extra handy than beginning seeds by yourself, it’s costlier and there will probably be fewer varieties accessible 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 quick rows — as an alternative of 1 or two lengthy ones — will pollinate readily.

If you happen to want to extend 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.

Huge 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 slightly early. It has resistance to Stewart’s wilt and rust.

Calico is an heirloom flint corn with yellow, brown, white, purple, crimson 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 crimson kernels which can be almost 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 Honest Woman 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 peak 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 high of watering a corn crop. One inch of water per week is all that’s wanted, together with rainfall and supplemental watering. At any time when 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 in addition disrupts the pollen on the corn stalks. 

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

Fertilizing Corn

Corn is a heavy feeder that wants a whole lot of nitrogen. Previous to planting, amend the soil with compost, well-rotted manure and/or a “inexperienced manure” akin to clover or vetch. It will get your crop off to a very good begin.

Aspect costume with natural fertilizer that’s wealthy in nitrogen akin 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 whole lot of nitrogen to provide massive ears.


Corn Pests & Ailments

Corn has quite a few pest and illness points however they are often overcome by selecting resistant varieties, working towards 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 might be eliminated by hand. An alternative choice for armyworm management is Bacillus thuringiensis, generally known as Bt, an natural management for moth and butterfly larvae that’s secure 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 simplest 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 which may 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 grow to be aggressive towards each other. Normally, only one earworm makes it to full dimension per ear. Corn earworms and tomato fruitworms are one and the identical, and this pest assaults a wide range of different crops as effectively. Pheromone traps can be utilized to warn you 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 grow to be aggressive towards each other. Normally, only one earworm makes it to full dimension per ear.


Corn borers are moth larvae and there are multiple species that could possibly 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 injury corn foliage. Floating row cowl can preserve 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 pulls ants and creates a black sooty mildew. Preserve aphids off corn with row cowl and take away weeds which will even be aphid hosts vegetation. If you happen to do discover aphids in your vegetation, management them with a pointy blast of water. As soon as they’re knocked down this fashion, they gained’t be capable of get again on the vegetation. Woman beetles, inexperienced lacewings and syrphid flies are all helpful bugs that prey on aphids. Chorus from utilizing pesticides that may kill these helpful 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. Follow crop rotation to stop this pest from build up 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 subject. 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 reveal the larvae to birds, which is able to scale back the variety of overwintering pests considerably. Paper collars positioned round every corn plant and pressed into the soil at planting time can preserve 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 preserve flea beetles at bay. One other technique is to plant a lure crop of radishes, which flea beetles favor over turnips.

Japanese beetles are an issue for corn as a result of they reduce 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 either side. 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 might be managed with Bacillus thuringiensis galleriae (Btg), milky spore and parasitic nematodes, and adults might 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. Follow crop rotation to stop their populations from build up.

Slugs can defoliate and kill corn vegetation. For a extreme infestation, a bait like Sluggo, which accommodates iron phosphate, is a secure, 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 injury vegetation which can be additional alongside of their growth. If you happen to suspect your backyard has a wireworm subject, 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’ll be able to’t do something about wireworms as corn is rising, however within the weeks previous to planting time, you may flip the soil a number of instances to reveal the wireworms to birds.  



You’ll be able to’t do something about wireworms as corn is rising, however within the weeks previous to planting time, you may flip the soil a number of instances to reveal the wireworms to birds.


Corn vegetation might be affected by varied plant ailments, together with Anthracnose, rust, loopy high (Sclerophthora macrospora), leaf spot, leaf blight, maize dwarf mosaic virus and Stewart’s wilt. Apart from retaining pathogen-transmitting pests off seedlings, the very best prevention for plant ailments is crop rotation. If you happen to 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 sometimes 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 mild 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 onerous and shiny.

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

Preserve candy corn of their husks till able to cook dinner. If roasting the corn, the husks can truly 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 grasp the ears to permit the kernels to dry out additional.


Sweet corn

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


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

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Hyperlinks & Assets

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Episode 094: Methods to 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 Crops Up for Success in Spring

joegardener weblog: Powdery Mildew Prevention & Management 

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joegardener weblog: Japanese Beetle Prevention & Management

How Do I Develop Corn? one-sheet

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

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

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

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Floating row cowl

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Disclosure: Some product hyperlinks on this information are affiliate hyperlinks, which suggests we might get a fee if you buy. Nevertheless, not one of the costs of those assets have been elevated to compensate us. Not one of the objects included on this listing have any bearing on any compensation being an influencing issue on their inclusion right here. The collection of all objects featured on this put up and podcast had been primarily based solely on advantage and on no account 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 firms who could have merchandise included on this put up and podcast: Rain Fowl, Corona Instruments, Milorganite, Soil3, Exmark, Greenhouse Megastore, Excessive Mowing Natural Seeds, Territorial Seed Firm, Wild Alaskan Seafood Field and TerraThrive. These firms are both Model Companions of and/or promote on our web site. Nevertheless, we obtain no further compensation from the gross sales or promotion of their product via this information. The inclusion of any merchandise talked about inside this put up is fully unbiased and unique of any relationship.

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