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How to Grow Corn
Corn is a wind-pollinated crop. The most common cause of poorly filled ears is poor pollination. For this reason, if you have a small garden, consider planting in a block four or five rows across, sowing your seeds 1-2 inches deep every 9 - 12 inches. Firm the soil after planting so there is good seed-to-soil contact and maintain even soil moisture during the crucial germination period. Use fresh seed for your planting. Corn seed is relatively short-lived and spotty germination will result in poor pollination.
For an extended harvest, consider sowing more than one variety. Early and late sowings grow more slowly than corn planted when conditions are ideal and for this reason you may get the best results if you plant early, mid-season and late varieties in one large sowing. If you mix different types of corn (standard sweet, synergistic, sugary enhanced) your planting areas must be separated by distance or barriers to prevent crossing. Crossing will result in less sweet, starchy corn. 25' between blocks is adequate for small plantings. Allow 100' if you are planting commercial quantities of an acre or more.
Harvest corn at the milk stage, when the kernels exude a milky juice when you puncture them with your fingernail. Milk stage is brief so you must check frequently. Other signs the corn is ready to pick include fullness of the ears up to the tip (squeeze them to tell) and brown, dry silks. The sugars in corn turn rapidly to starch after picking, so eating the corn as soon as possible after picking is essential. If you must pick in advance, store corn in a cool, refrigerated location to preserve its sweetness. Do not leave it sitting in warm summer air.