Planting corn outside
It's time to start planting corn outside, and I wanted to show you how I do it.
Isn't it amazing that one single little maize kernel can develop into such a large and tall plant? I can harvest 1-2 cobs from each plant. This is actually a good benchmark that will give you an idea about how many seeds you should sow. But in reality, the size of the bed will ultimately decide of course. For me, there's no point in just growing a few plants. We are a big family and we need more than that. This bed is 10 feet (around 3 meters) long and I grow 30 plants here. All in all, I will be growing 120 plants this year.
I'm growing the variety Swift this year. It's a so-called sweet corn variety, and the name really says it all. The very sweet varieties are our favorites! I actually prefer them over the heirloom varieties, even though they are hybrids.
I sowed this batch on May 1 and the seeds germinated after just a few days. I plant the corn around 2-3 weeks after sowing.
Read more about my spring projects: Gardening calendar, what I sow in May
I prefer it when the plants are quite small, around 4 inches (10 centimeters) and no more when I plant them. Why so small? Well, it can be a bit tricky to replant corn. Large plants might not make it. But smaller plants are easier to work with. I have had particularly good results sowing my corn in troughs that you can open. There are a few different kinds you can use, but you can sow in separate pots too if you want to. I don't get as good results replanting if I sow several seeds in the same space. It seems like this makes it harder to separate the root systems when you want to replant them.
When I grow corn, I fill up the beds with as many plants as I can. This is, in my opinion, the best method which really makes the pollination process easier. For example, I put three plants next to each other and fill the entire bed with as many rows I can fit length-wise. The distance between the plants should be 8-12 inches (around 20-30 centimeters.) You can leave a bit more space between the rows though, just make sure they are close enough for the pollination to go smoothly.
I'm companion planting the corn with tomatoes this year. Four tomato plants from the variety Crimson Crush are growing in between the corn in each bed.
If you decided to pre-seed corn and then get huge plants that die when you plant them outside, you could still get an ok harvest if you start direct-seeding outside when the soil is warmed up. Put a row cover over the spot to keep the heat and moist in the soil though.
Good luck planting corn in your garden!