How To Plant Corn
How to Plant Corn
Learning is Easy-Breezy!
Corn actually grows very well when seeded directly in the garden, started early
indoors, or purchased as a small plant at a local lawn and garden shop.
I love corn for this reason because I’m not the type of gardener who’s
going to “baby” any of my plants or vegetables. If you’ve read through
any of the info on this site, you’ll find that you’ve got to be a bit
tough to survive in my backyard! 🙂
So if I can learn how to plant corn, I know you can too!
Actually planting the corn is not the tricky part in producing a healthy crop…GROWING it can be a bit of a
challenge…but more on that in a minute…
When deciding in your yard, you truly do have several options, even if you’re a novice gardener.
None of these options are superior to the others, so go with what you’re comfortable with!
How to Plant Corn: The options!
- Start the plant from seed indoors before the weather warms,
- Plant a small plant purchased from a garden center in the garden, or
- Plant the seed directly in the garden once the weather warms.
Let’s talk briefly about each one of these options so you can decide which one works best for you.
1. Start the plant from seed indoors
If you’re like many of us, you can’t wait to get planting come early
spring! Unfortunately, the danger of frost has not yet past, and most
plants cannot survive the nighttime temperatures prevalent in the
springtime in Northern climates.
Because of this, many gardeners start their seeds indoors.
I’m not going to go into detail about this,
as there is much information about this on the web already. Margaret Roach from A Way to Garden, has written a wonderful article on and other seeds complete with pictures and step by step instructions.
I prefer to seed directly in the garden, or purchase small plants from a garden center. Saves me the hassle of building the indoor incubator and hardening off the plants once they’re growing.
I’m a lazy gardener, so any time-savers are a big 2 thumbs up!
2. Purchase a small plant from a garden center
This is probably my favorite option for planting a vegetable garden. Not only is it much easier to deal with baby plants than it is to deal
with fragile seeds, but it’s also easier to see the plants once you’ve
added them to your garden.
When I plant seeds directly into the garden
soil, I tend to forget where I put them. Then when the weeds start
growing, I can’t tell what’s a delicate plant and what’s an invasive
Simply loosen the soil where you want to add your plant, and take a bulb planter
to pull up a couple of inches of soil, and create a hole that’s perfect
for adding your new plant.
Push the soil in around your plant somewhat
firmly, and add a light mulch to retain water and deter weed growth. Dried grass clippings work well for this.
Don’t forget to water your garden several times per week, and keep things moist throughout the growing season.
3. Plant seed directly in the garden
How to plant corn is easiest when simply sticking the seeds 1-2 inches deep into the soil (I literally push a seed down into the prepared soil
with the tip of my finger) space them at least 8 to 10 inches
There is no need to soak the seeds overnight, or do anything special to them once they’re in the ground. Just make sure that the temperature is above freezing at night, and they’ll be popping through the soil in no time!
What about the 3 Sisters Method?
Learning using the 3 Sisters Method is really cool!
This is an old Native American tradition of planting corn, pole beans and squash in the same bed to maximize on each of the plant’s benefits and strengths.
With this method, the corn is planted first and allowed to grow to a
height of about 6-8 inches. Then the beans are planted closely around
the corn so that they can use the corn as a trellis.
Be sure to wait until the corn has grown those 6-8 inches before planting the
beans, otherwise, the beans will simply take over, and smother the corn.
The corn and beans in the pictures above are the 3 sisters method in action in my garden. The corn was planted directly in the garden several weeks prior to the beans, and as you can see, the beans are catching up nicely.
At the same time you are planting the beans by the corn, in the surrounding area you are planting squash or pumpkin seeds.
The squash produce nice big leaves that smother any growth below it which
creates a nice mulch for all of the plants, and also helps to conserve
This method is also used to balance the nutrients in the
soil….one plant replaces the nitrogen in the soil that another plant
Renee’s Garden has written a wonderfully detailed article on how to apply this method in your own yard. The plot she describes however, is 10 feet by 10 feet.
I don’t know about you, but that’s a bit too much corn, beans and squash for me!
I would take the same concepts and grow 2 to 3 masses of corn/beans in a
rectangular planting area 5 to 8 feet long, and then alternate my
plantings with pumpkin and zucchini.
Keep in mind that pumpkin has more of a trailing habit and will grow
as long as 10 feet or more, while zucchini has more of an upright habit, but it
will really take over an area quickly. Alternative types of squash that are less bushy may be a better option with this method.
If you decide not to try the 3 Sister’s Method, please know that you may struggle keeping your ripening ears of corn away from predators.
The squirrels will tear things down just as those ears are getting ready to be picked!
The thorns from the squash will serve to naturally deter predators, or you can try some type of ‘Scare Crow’ homemade device. My neighbors have a metal pie tin or 2 tied next to their garden plot, hanging from a metal stake.
Those pie tins make quite a racket and scare away most of the would be thieves.
Little House in the Suburbs has a PDF regarding companion planting on this page. If you’ve never heard of it, the concept is that there are certain plants that do well together, and certain plants that do not.
There are also certain plants that you shouldn’t plant in the same area where other plants were located the following year.
For example, it’s not wise to plant strawberries in a spot where tomatoes were planted the previous year as they could develop diseases as a result.
Corn can safely be planted with beans, squash and potatoes.
For more information on gardening, follow these links:
- Basic Herb Garden
- Best Time to Plant Strawberries
- Childrens Garden
- Gardening for Dummies
- How to Lay Out a Garden
- How to Plant Tomatoes
- Raised Bed Vegetable Gardening
As always, happy gardening!
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