How To Buy Corn Plants

Fresh, sweet corn on the cob is one of life's simple pleasures. You can grow your own corn plants right in your garden, providing you have enough space, and reap the rewards of summer fresh corn yourself. Corn can be frozen or canned for long-term storage as well. If you are considering adding corn to your vegetable garden, here are some tips to keep in mind.

  1. Corn needs a lot of space to grow successfully. Plants should be placed in a grid pattern of short rows rather than in singular, long rows, since the plants need to be cross-pollinated. The grid pattern will allow the wind to pick up and distribute the pollen between plants.
  2. Don't purchase your corn plants until the threat of frost has passed and the soil has warmed up. Make sure the plants will get plenty of sunshine in order for them to thrive.
  3. When purchasing corn plants from a nursery, look for plants that are about three to four inches tall and healthy in appearance.
     
  4. Once your corn plants have started growing ears of corn, keep them completely intact. Never remove the tassels at the end of the ear, as these are necessary for successful pollination.
     
  5. If you live in a location that is hot year-round, you can have success with almost any variety of corn. For those who live where there is a shorter growing season, look for varieties that have a shorter growing season. Some types of corn have a 55-100 day growing season, and these are perfect for seasonal gardeners.
  6. If you want to grow more than one type of corn, make sure the different varieties are planted well apart from each other. Since corn is pollinated through wind, cross-pollination is very likely when different types of corn are planted together too closely. For example, popping corn will turn sweet corn tough and starchy if cross-pollinated.
  7. If you want to keep a steady supply of corn in your garden, plant fresh corn plants about every two weeks. Corn will grow and mature faster throughout the season as the weather gets warmer.
  8. Raccoons and other animals love to eat corn right off of your plants. To help keep them at bay, use solar-powered lights, shiny pinwheels, or anything that emits sound and/or light to scare them off.
  9. Corn plants will need fertilizer and other products at certain times during their growing season. Check with the nursery where you buy the plants to find out what products you will need and when to use them, depending on the variety of corn you are planting and the growing conditions of your property.
     
  10. Prepare your soil before planting by adding some compost or manure to ensure a fertile bed for your corn plants. After planting, the plants will need about one inch of water per week.

 

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