Plant Type
Sunlight Amount

February 18, 2016
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Corn

Few things say summer like sweet corn, picked just minutes before eating. Sweet corn starts converting its sugars to starch the second you pick it, so it's hard to find sweet corn more tasty than that from your backyard.

Sweet corn takes space. It's essential to plant a number of rows (more is better) because the ears are wind pollinated and they need the critical mass for best production. For this reason, it's most efficient to plant corn in a block of short rows or hills rather than in a few long rows. Most stalks produce just one or two ears of corn, so plant plenty!

And do what the professionals do: Plant early-, mid-, and late-season varieties to ensure the longest season of harvest, several weeks in late summer. Choose from standard sugary (su), sugar-enhanced (se), and supersweet (sh2) varieties with yellow, white, or bicolor kernels.

genus name
  • Zea mays
light
  • Sun
plant type
  • Vegetable
height
  • 3 to 8 feet
  • 8 to 20 feet
width
  • 1-3 feet wide
propagation
harvest tips
  • When the silks of the ear begin to turn brown at their tips, peel back some of the husk to check for maturity. Kernels at the ideal stage for harvest will be milky. Immature kernels are watery; over mature ones are tough and doughy. With a sharp downward twist, break the shank or stem below the ear without breaking the parent stalk. Cook and eat the ears immediately or prepare them for freezing or canning as soon as possible to retain maximum sweetness.

MPC105232

More varieties for Corn

'Bonus Hybrid' corn

is a baby type that produces three to six small ears on each stalk 35 days after planting. Use baby corn in Asian dishes.

'Honey 'n Pearl Hybrid' corn

is a bicolor supersweet variety that produces ears with tight husks that resist corn earworm damage. It matures in 76 days.

'Illini Xtra Sweet' corn

is a yellow supersweet variety that was one of the first varieties developed in this category, and it remains highly popular. It matures in 85 days and freezes well.

'Peaches 'n Cream Hybrid' corn

is a bicolor, sugar-enhanced variety that produces creamy, small, tender kernels in just 70 days.

'Silver Queen' corn

is a white standard sugary variety considered by many to be one of the best-tasting corns ever. It matures in 92 days.

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