How to grow sweet corn

Organic sweet corn thrives in the heat.

One of the most important crops for summer growing in the organic vegetable garden is sweet corn. It absolutely thrives in the heat.

Another thing it loves is a well prepared rich organic soil. Start by forking over and loosening your soil to around a spades depth. Then start piling in the good stuff – a good barrow load of  compost per square metre – well aged animal manure, cow, chicken, horse, sheep, whatever you can lay your hands on – then spread it evenly over the bed.

Next, it’s fertilisers and organic products like blood n bone – toss a good handful around every square metre and to supplement that, a tight fistful of sulphate of potash. Give this all a thorough turning with a garden fork to mix it in. Once that’s done, rake over the bed a few times and it’s ready for planting.

The best way to plant corn is from organic seeds, but you need to make sure it’s fresh to get a good rate of plants coming up. The other thing, you should always plant corn in blocks rather than single rows. The cobs are pollinated by wind, so block planting ensures you get a good even distribution of pollen.

Planting is easy. Mark your rows - about 50 cm apart - by pressing the handle of your garden rake into the soil, then use a trowel along the lines to form a groove. Go along the grooves and drop in your seed about 25cm apart, then fill the rows with soil using the back of your rake.

All that’s left to do now is water them in. Corn seed can rot easily, so it’s important not to water them again until they’ve come up, which takes about a week or so. Corn is an easy crop to grow in organic gardens. Be sure to check out the latest issue of Organic Gardener for more tips on how to grow.

First published: November 2010

Related topics

Plants & Vegetables, All Gardens, organic, sweet corn, how to grow, organic gardening, corn, Issue 52 - November/December 2010, GROW, Vegetables
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