Growing Corn

by April Reinhardt
(last updated December 7, 2015)

I remember spending sultry, lazy summer evenings in the country at my uncle's farm. While my cousins, siblings, and I alternated clambering for the tree swing, and running barefoot through the cooling grass, Mom, Dad, Grandma, Grandpa, and my aunt and uncle prepared for the nightly patio dinner. Nearing dusk, the crackling kindling in the open concrete block grill signaled to me that soon we would roast marshmallows on green sticks over the orange-glowing embers. Brats and metts sizzled side-by-side on an old oven rack atop the concrete blocks, whining to escape their casements. But the searing aroma of succulent sweet corn roasting within their blackened husks made my stomach howl with hunger, and my saliva swirl for the anticipation of the first crispy bite.

Corn, also known as maize, is the largest crop grown in the Americas. Corn is used in the production of livestock feed, animal and pet food, cereals, sweeteners, fabrics, plastics, whiskey and alcoholic beverages, and fuels. Many people grow corn in their gardens for their own consumption, since corn can be canned, frozen, or otherwise preserved for use as food storage. It is fairly simple to grow corn, and you can follow these guidelines to grow your own and enjoy it while it is fresh from the field:

  • Choose a variety of corn that you and your family may enjoy. Some people choose to buy corn plants from a nursery, but you can just as well plant corn from seed in the early spring.
  • Cultivate your corn patch, choosing a site that gets plenty of sunlight. Remove all weeds, grass, and large debris, and then turn and rake the soil to prepare it.
  • Hoe trenches for your rows of corn, making furrows the length of your corn patch. Make sure that your rows are at least two foot apart so that you will have room to walk between the corn stalks when they are mature.
  • Using your index finger, poke a hole into the dirt, twirling your finger in a circular motion to widen the hole. Drop three corn seeds into the hole, and then cover the hole with dirt, using the heel of your shoe. Plant your corn one pace apart, or about eight or nine inches.
  • Lightly water your planted furrows with the lightest setting on your garden sprayer.
  • Use your hoe to cover the entire furrow with soil, and then water again.

Water your corn patch at least once a week, taking care not to wash away the young plants. Do not over water, as doing so can cause root rot. Make sure to weed your corn often, and protect it from rodents and pests. Corn will grow to mature ears anywhere from sixty to ninety days after seeding. Harvest your corn when the silks are dry and brown, and the husks are dark green. Usually, ears are ready for harvest about twenty days after the silks first appear.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...

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