and How To Sow and Plant Sweet Corn
Prepare the soil around
to allow it to settle well before
Dig to at least a spade's depth, incorporating
as much organic matter as possible. Work in a handful of
bonemeal per square metre (3 foot).
Sweet corn will only grow from seed at soil temperatures above 10C (50F),
but they stand their best chance at over 16C (60F). There are
three principal methods for sowing sweet corn, the first two
having the best chance of success.
Sow the seeds indoors or in a heated greenhouse,
the best time. Sow two seeds per 7cm (3inch) peat pot in
standard potting compost. Peat pots are better than plastic pots because they can be planted directly into their final positions
without disturbing the roots - sweet corn hate root disturbance.
When the seedlings emerge, remove the weakest in each pot. Plant in their final
positions when all danger of frost has passed (
). Remember to harden off the plants for a week before planting by
placing them in a protected position (a cloche or poly-tunnel is best)
to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche from GardenAction's preferred
The second method is to plant the seeds in their final positions
under cloches or supported plastic sheeting (poly tunnels). The cloches
/ poly tunnels should have been
in position at the beginning of
April to warm up the soil for
planting the seeds in
mid-May. Leave the cloches / plastic
sheeting in place to protect the plants, removing it during
to buy a poly-tunnel or cloche online from our recommended suppliers.
Plant the seeds in their final positions without protection
mid-May. When planting directly outside, sow two
seeds together (to allow for failure) about 3cm (1 inch)
final alternate method is to grow the sweet corn under
fluorescent lights in the garage, they are ideally suited to
this method for the first month - click
here for more details.
corn should be planted in blocks to assist in pollination, and
reduce the amount of wind damage. See the diagram for
corn may seem a waste of time in small gardens, but they are
ideal for under-cropping (growing other plants between them)
because their foliage lets lots of light through. Examples of
vegetables which will do well with sweet corn are dwarf French
beans, radish, lettuce - in fact most small vegetables.
Caring For Sweet Corn
Sweet corn are very easy to look after once they have
germinated successfully. They appreciate a good watering
especially when they are in flower. They also appreciate being
fed at fortnightly intervals with fertilisers designed for
tomatoes (i.e. not too high in nitrogen, but high in potassium).
the plants are at all exposed to wind, it helps greatly to pile
up earth around the base of the stems - this will encourage more
supporting roots to grow just below ground level.