Growing sweet corn is easier than you think, you just have to do it the right way. Here’s a few pointers to make sure you have a boiling pot of wonderful corn by the end of the spring gardening season:
1. Plant corn between March 1 and April 15 in Central Texas. Consult your local County Extension Office for the best varieties for your area. You’ll see a list of local county extension offices at the bottom of this page. Each of their sites has a list of varieties recommended for your county. Plant only one type of corn to prevent cross-pollination.
2. Remember that corn is a giant grass, and like grass it needs plenty of sunlight, soil enriched with lots of compost and plenty of fertilizer that contains nitrogen. While preparing soil for planting corn spread 20 pounds of a balanced fertilizer, such as 13-13-13 per 1,000 square feet. If using granulated organic fertilizer, use as directed on the fertilizer label. Side dress with the fertilizer again at the rate of two pounds per 100 foot row when plants are knee high.
3. Plant corn one inch deep and eight inches apart in blocks at least 15 feet wide by 15 deep. If you plant corn in a single row, you will get poor pollination and uneven kernels. The main reason for poor performance of a corn crop is poor pollination.
4. Corn has shallow roots and gets blown over in our spring storms, so plant in a protected area, if possible, but be sure the planting area get at least six hours of sunshine each day.
5. Soil Ph should be between 6.0 and 7.0.
6. Supply even moisture, but don’t allow the plants to sit in water, expecially in thick clay. Keep the area weed-free to prevent diseases from spreading to the corn plants from grassy weeds.
7. Harvest when the silk is brown except for about and inch of green silk at the top of the ear. The ears will feel full when ready to harvest. Harvest early in the morning on the day you are going to eat the corn so the sugar content is highest.
8. Adding a few drops of mineral oil every few days to the silk where it enters the ear smothers corn earworm eggs and prevents them from hatching. If you have corn earworms on freshly harvested ears, simply break or cut off the end of the ear where the worm is living and process the ear as normal.
Good companion plants for corn are: Beans, cabbage, melons, cucumber, parsley, pumpkins, and squash.
Tomatoes make a poor companion plant for corn.
More Gardening Information and books, plants and seed sources at: http://www.biglump.com