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Growing Sweet Corn (continued - page 2)

When and How To Sow and Plant Sweet Corn
Prepare the soil around March to allow it to settle well before planting.

Dig to at least a spade's depth, incorporating as much organic matter as possible. Work in a handful of bonemeal per square metre (3 foot). 

Picture of Sweet Corn 'Aztec'

Sweet corn will only grow from seed at soil temperatures above 10C (50F), but they stand their best chance at over 16C (60F). There are three principal methods for sowing sweet corn, the first two having the best chance of success.

Method 1. Sow the seeds indoors or in a heated greenhouse, mid-April is the best time. Sow two seeds per 7cm (3inch) peat pot in standard potting compost. Peat pots are better than plastic pots because they can be planted directly into their final positions without disturbing the roots - sweet corn hate root disturbance. When the seedlings emerge, remove the weakest in each pot. Plant in their final positions when all danger of frost has passed ( mid-May ). Remember to harden off the plants for a week before planting by placing them in a protected position (a cloche or poly-tunnel is best) outside.  Click here to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche from GardenAction's preferred online supplier.

Method 2. The second method is to plant the seeds in their final positions under cloches or supported plastic sheeting (poly tunnels). The cloches / poly tunnels should have been in position at the beginning of April to warm up the soil for planting the seeds in mid-May. Leave the cloches / plastic sheeting in place to protect the plants, removing it during mid-May. Click here to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche online from our recommended suppliers.

Method 3. Plant the seeds in their final positions without protection during mid-May. When planting directly outside, sow two seeds together (to allow for failure) about 3cm (1 inch) deep. 

A final alternate method is to grow the sweet corn under fluorescent lights in the garage, they are ideally suited to this method for the first month - click here for more details.

How to Planr Sweet Corn picture 1

Sweet corn should be planted in blocks to assist in pollination, and reduce the amount of wind damage. See the diagram  for measurements.

Sweet corn may seem a waste of time in small gardens, but they are ideal for under-cropping (growing other plants between them) because their foliage lets lots of light through. Examples of vegetables which will do well with sweet corn are dwarf French beans, radish, lettuce - in fact most small vegetables.

Caring For Sweet Corn
Sweet corn are very easy to look after once they have germinated successfully. They appreciate a good watering especially when they are in flower. They also appreciate being fed at fortnightly intervals with fertilisers designed for tomatoes (i.e. not too high in nitrogen, but high in potassium).

If the plants are at all exposed to wind, it helps greatly to pile up earth around the base of the stems - this will encourage more supporting roots  to grow just below ground level. 





Name: Anna
Date posted: September 08, 2011 - 09:06 pm
Message: What why up do I plant the seed ?

Name: Patrick Colin
Date posted: September 02, 2011 - 07:05 am
Message: Please advice we are in RSA ,we have 1 ack of land we intend to plant sweetcorn when ecxactly can must it be on the ground ? it is new ground never planted what must we put on the ground ,what compost will be suitable ? please help us

Name: daniel
Date posted: July 14, 2011 - 03:16 pm
Message: hi there i am growing sweetcorn for the first time and its about 3ft and in good health but should the corn be showing at the top or should it be covered please your adivce would be greatfull thank you daniel

Name: DonnaM
Date posted: May 14, 2011 - 08:30 pm
Message: Started my F1 sweecorn from seeds in pots in a plastic 4 tier green house at end of March, planted them out in a raised bed last week. They seem to have settle OK. Interplanted mine with sunflowers(teddy Bear dwarf pom pom type)Really looking forward to my first ever crop of corn.

Name: Ross Winstanley
E-mail: Private
Date posted: December 15, 2010 - 08:10 pm
Message: Should I remove the pairs of side stalks growing from the base of most of my half-grown plants?