Things to Know Before Planting Sweet Corn

planting sweet corn

Sweet corn is a whole grain from the grass family, Poaceae, Z. It grows annually with yellow, white or bi-colored ears. Sweet corn is well-known for its delicious, creamy texture. For the best taste, you should eat it within a week after harvest.  

It is essential to know that sweet corn has more sugar and less starch than field corn. This variety is a result of a natural genetic mutation that handles the conversion of sugar to glycogen in the plant, making it sweet during the milk stage, before the kernel´s full maturation. 

So, the question is, What is the correct way to plant sweet corn in your vegetable garden?”

First, it is critical to understand that corn is wind-pollinated, so it must be planted in blocks. Never plant corn seeds in single rows. Keep in mind that if you miss the ideal harvest time, you will find that the corn’s taste will deteriorate quickly, as sugars convert to starch.

When and Where to Plant Corn?

Since Malaysia is a tropical country, you can plant corn almost year-round, since corn seeds require warm weather to grow. Soil temperature should be above 16° Celsius for successful germination. 

If you want to extend the harvest, plant your first round of corn and, a couple of weeks thereafter, plant another round. 

Sweet corn grows best in fertile, well-drained soils in full sun. Please note that the soil must hold some moisture, as corn uses a lot of water. 

As mentioned, for sufficient pollination, you must plant corn seeds in blocks and not in single rows. Doing this will ensure that the corn has a more significant opportunity of growing viable ears, thanks to wind pollination.

Planting sweet corn

How to Plant Corn

Avoid starting corn seeds indoors. It is recommended to start them in the garden to prevent disturbed roots due to transplanting. 

Sow corn seeds at a depth of 2.50 centimeters in fertile soils. If the soil is light sandy, the planting depth might be 5 centimeters. Space the corn seeds 20 to 30 centimeters apart in rows 60 centimeters apart. 

If you prefer, plant sweet corn in hills. You can sow 4 to 5 corn seeds per hill, with approximately 7 centimeters between seeds. Please note that hills should be spaced 60 centimeters apart, with 90 centimeters between rows. 

It is a wise idea to fertilise at planting time so that the corn will grow faster. This step can be skipped if the soil is fertile. Don’t forget to water well in the growing phase.

Growing Tips and Care

Growing corn is easy, as long as you know how to do it correctly. It is critical to understand that corn is a big vegetable that can’t compete with weeds, as it needs all the nutrients to grow. 

For the first month of growth, you must kill weeds around the stalks.  After 1 month, the shallow corn roots will spread, and you need to be very careful not to hurt these roots. During this phase, it is best to apply mulch to stop weeds from sprouting. 

Keep in mind that corn needs about 2.50 centimeters of water a week. During pollination, water is key to prevent missing kernels. The best way to water is to use a soaker hose or drip irrigation. 

Make sure to avoid watering plants from above; you don’t want to wash pollen off the tops. 

When the stalks are 15 centimeters tall, apply fertiliser and repeat the feeding when they are about 45 centimeters high. It is best to leave any side shoots or suckers that appear; they are harmless and cutting them might disturb roots.

Planting sweet corn

Selecting Sweet Corn

Selecting and picking sweet corn is simple. Keep in mind that each stalk of sweet corn must produce at least one ear of corn. You can choose this ear of corn about 20 days after you see signs of the first silk growing. 

Grab the ear and twist and pull in a downward movement. Make sure to snap it off quickly. If there is a second ear, it will be ready later. 

Growing corn seeds is easy, as it requires little care. Follow the above tips, and you will be enjoying sweet corn in no time! For more information, feel free to get in touch with us.

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