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How to Plant Corn

how-to-plant-cornIt is no surprise that corn is native to the Americas. Scientists speculate that corn was originally cultivated by natives of Mexico that carried it northward as they migrated. [1]History books reveal that Squanto of the Wampanog Indian tribe taught the pilgrims how to grow corn by planting it in small mounds with a small fish for fertilizer. [2]

When to Plant Corn

For those eager to start their corn field early, it can be planted when the soil temperature reaches at least 50°F.  The caveat to planting this early is that the colder the soil the longer the plant will take to emerge, which at a soil temperature as low as 50°F, can mean up to three weeks.

Waiting until the soil reaches 70°F will mean an emergence time of a week or so, so depending on the seasonal temperatures, there often is little benefit to planting early.

How to Plant Corn

Soil Conditions: Corn requires full sun in fertile, well-drained soil.

Depth: Corn seed should be planted according to weather and soil conditions.  The general rule of thumb is to plant the seed at a depth of 2”, but may need to be planted shallower or deeper if the soil is too cool or excessively dry.

Spacing: Seeds should be spaced 8-12” apart. Optimal conditions for corn stalks exist when the rows are spaced 30” apart.

Blocks: Corn requires pollination which is carried out by the wind. Due to this for best results you need to plant corn in blocks rather than long rows.

Choose One Type: Corn will cross pollinate so you should plant only one variety per season.  If you do wish to plant more than one variety, plant them at least 250 feet apart from one another or stagger the growing season.


[1] “The Story of Corn Intro.” Welcome to the CampSilos Home Page. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2011.

[2] “Thanksgiving.” IN TIME: Home. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2011. <>.

[3] “Corn Planting Guide.” Iowa State University Extension. Iowa State University , n.d. Web. 9 May 2011.

[4] ” Planting Sweet Corn in the Home Garden | Horticulture and Home Pest News .” Integrated Pest Management at Iowa State University. N.p., n.d. Web. 9 May 2011. <>.

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