There’s Still Time To Plant A Sweet Corn Crop This Spring

Ames, Iowa — Iowa is the nation’s top corn grower, with more than 13 million acres devoted to the vegetable, but some Iowans are planting their first small crops of sweet corn this spring.

Aaron Steil, consumer horticulture specialist at the Iowa State University Extension, says if you’d hoped to have sweet corn by the 4th of July, you would need to have planted in mid-April, but he says there’s still plenty of time to get seeds in the ground.

There are many types of sweet corn from which to choose. Steil says the “standard sugary” cultivars have the traditional sweet corn flavor and texture, but are only of the best quality within the first day after harvest because sugars quickly convert to starch after picking.

Before buying seed, you’ll need to consider what elements are important, including flavor, sweetness, crunch, and kernel color. When arranging your sweet corn plot, plan for irrigation and make sure the soil is well fertilized, because corn uses a lot of nitrogen, as well as phosphorus and potassium.

Crayon drawings by kids may depict eight or ten ears of corn on each stalk, but Steil says you shouldn’t expect nearly as many.

For a continuous supply of sweet corn, plant early, mid-season, and late cultivars. Also, he says to plant only fresh seeds, as old seeds may not germinate well. In addition, keep sweet corn isolated from popcorn as the quality of sweet corn will be lowered if it’s cross-pollinated by other types of corn.



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