If you love the taste of corn, you will really love the taste of fresh corn from your garden. Corn is easy to grow and goes with just about any main dish.
Corn needs fertile, well-drained soil, full sunlight and water. Before planting, prepare the soil by tilling in composed cow manure or other organic matter. Corn is a wind-pollinated plant, so you will need to plant several rows. One row will probably not produce much corn. For a small garden, plan on planting at least 3 or 4 rows with rows at least 6 feet in length. Plant the corn on the north side of the garden so that it does not shade other garden vegetables.
Choose a sweet corn variety that works well with your growing season. Do not plant until the ground temperature reaches at least 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Plant the kernels about 6 inches apart and about 1 inch deep. Plant the rows 1 to 2 feet apart. Corn needs lots of moisture during the germination, so water the area daily until the corn emerges. If you have a dry growing season, make sure that the corn continues to get adequate moisture throughout its growth. The ground should be moist, but not saturated.
You will need to add additional nitrogen fertilizer when the corn is about knee high or around July 4th (whichever comes first) if you managed to get the corn planted early enough in the spring. Remember the old saying that corn needs to be “knee-high by the 4th of July.” At that point add additional nitrogen in the form of liquid nitrogen fertilizer, blood meal or composted cow manure.
Expect to get an average of two ears from every corn stalk. Corn is ready to be harvested when the ears are filled and a milky liquid appears when you pierce a kernel of corn with a fingernail. Another sign of readiness is when the silk turns brown and slightly crisp, which is generally about 3 weeks after the silk first appears. If harvest corn early or wait too long, it may lose its sweet flavor.
Corn can be boiled or made on your barbecue grill as grilled corn-on–the-cob. Grilling corn in the husks is our favorite method.