When to Plant Corn: For a Bumper Harvest of the Family Favorite

Once you know when to plant corn, you can grow and enjoy a fresh harvest from your own vegetable garden. Corn has been harvested in North America for over 4,000 years, making it a true American icon in the plant world.

Full of vitamin C, corn is a delicious and healthy addition to any plate and is a family favorite – even kids with an aversion to vegetables will happily feast on a plate of sweet and juicy grains . It is also very easy to learn to grow corn, making it a must-have addition to the vegetable garden.

When to plant corn – from seed indoors

Freshly picked corn crop in a wooden trug

(Image credit: Swithinbank Limited)

If you plan to start your corn seeds indoors as part of your vegetable garden ideas, the best time to plant them is around 2 weeks before your last frost date – which will vary depending on where you live. , and could be from the start. beginning of April until end of May.

Corn is a tender warm season annual and needs a soil temperature of around 60°F (15°VS) to grow well. Starting plants indoors on a sunny windowsill, or as one of the crops on your list when planning a greenhouse, is a great way to get a head start.

Remember, if you’re planting corn seedlings indoors, they “will need to be hardened off to outdoor conditions before transplanting, once the threat of frost has passed,” advises Allison Sidhu of Philadelphia-based Gardener’s Path.

When to Plant Corn – From Seed Outdoors

Sweet corn to plant in May in the hawkstone hall vegetable garden

(Image credit: Kitchen Garden Hawkstone Hall)

When considering when to plant corn, your specific climate should be considered.

“In the southern United States, seeds can be sown outdoors in May. In other parts of the country, sow seeds in a cold frame or bell jar in early May,” advises Frederick Leeth, writer for the Backyard Gardener.

It is important to check your exact USDA hardiness zone and consider the weather before sowing. Make sure your average early spring temperatures aren’t continuously below 60°F (15°C), as your corn seeds may struggle to germinate in colder conditions.

“The risk of any frost has usually already passed by May, so it’s generally safe to plant maize outdoors,” says Mr Mitford, vegetable gardener at Hawkstone Hall.

“To help improve the germination rate of your seeds and speed up germination, soak them overnight in lukewarm water before planting,” advises Allison Sidhu.

Maize is sown in blocks because the plants are pollinated by the wind. They should be sown in a “sunny position, and provide a windbreak for areas exposed to strong winds”, advises Frederick.

plant corn in the vegetable garden

(Image credit: A&J Swithinbank Limited)

What is the best month to plant corn?

The best month to plant corn will depend on your USDA hardiness zone and your local climate.

As a general rule, “sweet corn seeds can be planted outdoors two to three weeks after the last average frost date in your area, or started indoors about two weeks before your last average frost date in the spring. “, advises Allison.

Plan to plant your corn seeds with other warm-season crops, such as zucchini or pumpkins, as part of your vegetable schedule.

If you start your seedlings before the last frost, be sure to keep them sheltered in a greenhouse or with a bell.

fresh corn cobs

(Image credit: Alamy Images)

What is the deadline for planting corn?

The deadline for planting corn will largely depend on the variety you are growing. There are early, mid-season, and late cultivars that can be planted at different times. Some corn varieties are ready to harvest within two months of planting, while others take longer than three. When planning when to plant corn, the growing period should be factored into the schedules.

The last possible time to plant corn will depend on your specific growing area, but try to get the plants in the ground at least in mid-summer to give the plant plenty of time in the sun to grow.

Make sure the risk of frost has passed before you are tempted to sow directly outdoors, and companion planting alongside beneficial crops will help achieve a healthy harvest.

“You don’t want to plant different corn together because the harvest will be poor,” warns Holli Schippers of Sunnyside Nursery. Try to keep the same varieties together when planting corn.

About Marco C. Nichols

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