Corn Seed Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know
This guide will provide you with the information and resources necessary to help you make informed decisions on which types of corn seeds are best suited for your gardening needs. This guide will also discuss topics such as soil preparation, fertilization, and pest control that can all have an effect on your success growing corn. With this comprehensive guide, you’ll be well prepared to start your own garden of delicious sweet corn.
What types of corn seeds are available?
There are many varieties of corn available, including sweetcorn, field-grown or dent corns and popcorn. Sweetcorn is most commonly eaten, and is available in hybrid or open-pollinated varieties. Hybrid corn produces higher yields than open-pollinated varieties but may require more fertilizer and pest control measures. Field-grown corns such as dent corn are usually used for feedstock, fuel and other industrial applications. Popcorn is a type of field corn that can be popped like popcorn when heated.
What should I consider when selecting the right variety?
Selecting the right variety for your growing conditions is essential to successful cultivation and harvesting of corn. Consider factors such as climate, soil quality, pests, water availability, and length of season when making decisions about which types of corn seed to purchase. Additionally, research which hybrids are best suited for your specific region and growing conditions.
How much corn seed do I need?
The amount of corn seed you’ll need will depend on the size of the garden, how many plants you want to grow, and the variety of corn being grown. Generally speaking, around 1 pound (454g) of seed is enough for 1000 sq ft (92m2). Be sure to read the instructions on the back of each packet before planting to determine exact amounts required.
What type of soil should be used for planting corn?
Corn prefers well-draining, slightly acidic soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0. To ensure optimal growth, consider having your soil tested before planting to determine its nutrient content and pH levels. If necessary, add organic matter such as compost to improve water retention and drainage, or lime to increase pH levels.
How do I prepare my corn seed for planting?
Before planting your seeds, it’s important to condition them first by soaking them in warm (not hot) water overnight and then draining them in the morning. This softens the outer layers of the seed coat, making it easier for the root system to penetrate and access nutrients from the soil during germination. Afterwards, you can plant the seed directly into prepared garden beds or containers at a depth of 1-2 inches (2.5-5 cm).
How often should I water corn?
The frequency of watering will depend on the soil type and weather conditions, however, it’s generally recommended to keep the soil moist but not overly saturated. A good rule of thumb is to water when the top inch or two (2.5-5 cm) of soil feels dry to the touch. Additionally, consider adding a layer of mulch around your plants during hot summer months as this helps reduce evaporation and retain moisture in the soil longer.
When can I harvest my corn?
Sweetcorn typically takes around 70-90 days from planting until it’s ready to harvest. To determine when your corn is ripe, look for kernels that are plump and milky. If the kernel liquid looks watery or clear, it means the corn isn’t quite ready yet. Once you’ve determined that your crop is ripe, use a sharp knife to cut the stalks just below ear height and make sure to store them in a cool place as soon as possible after harvesting.
What pests should I be aware of when growing corn?
The most common pest of sweetcorn are aphids, which can cause damage by sucking sap from leaves and stalks. Additionally, birds may feed on ripening ears of corn so netting may be necessary if infestations become a problem. To keep pests under control, consider applying insecticidal soap or neem oil to the plants every two weeks throughout the growing season. Additionally, removing any weeds and debris from your garden beds will also help reduce pest populations.
How should I store my harvested corn?
After harvesting, it’s important to store your sweetcorn in a cool place as soon as possible. Keeping ears of corn in an airtight container with plenty of moisture (such as a plastic bag) will help preserve their freshness for up to one week. If you’re planning on storing corn over a longer period of time, consider blanching or freezing them first as this helps maintain their flavor and texture for up to six months.