Sweet corn requires plenty of space and is adapted only to the
larger gardens. Although a warm-weather plant, it may be grown in
practically all parts of the United States. It needs a fertile,
well-drained, moist soil. With these requirements met, the type of
the soil does not seem to be especially important, but a clay loam
is almost ideal for sweet corn.
In the South, sweet corn is planted from early spring until
autumn, but the corn earworm, drought, and heat make it difficult
to obtain worthwhile results in midsummer. The ears pass the
edible stage very quickly, and succession plantings are necessary
to insure a constant supply. In the North, sweet corn cannot be
safely planted until the ground has thoroughly warmed up.
Here, too, succession plantings need to be made to insure a
steady supply. Sweet corn is frequently planted to good advantage
after early potatoes, peas, beets, lettuce, or other early,
short-season crops. Sometimes, to gain time, it may be planted
before the early crop is removed.
Sweet corn may be grown in either hills or drills, in rows at
least 3 feet apart. It is well to plant the seed rather thickly
and thin to single stalks 14 to 16 inches apart or three plants to
each 3-foot hill. Experiments have shown that in the eastern part
of the country there is no advantage in removing suckers from
sweet corn. Cultivation sufficient to control weeds is all that is
Hybrid sweet corn varieties, both white and yellow, are usually
more productive than the open-pollinated sorts. As a rule, they
need a more fertile soil and heavier feeding. They should be
fertilized with 5-10-5 fertilizer about every 3 weeks until they
start to silk. Many are resistant to disease, particularly
There are some sugar-enhanced varieties now in the market which
retain their sweetness for a longer period of time than regular
sweet corn. Never save seed from a hybrid crop for planting.
Such seed does not come true to the form of the plants from
which it was harvested.
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