Collection: Corn Seeds

Grow your own corn to enjoy for summer BBQs

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Collection: Homegrown Corn is the Best

Growing Organic Corn from Seed: A Comprehensive Guide

Corn is a beloved staple of summertime meals, enjoyed for its tender, juicy kernels and sweet flavor. Growing your own organic sweet corn from seed can be a rewarding and sustainable endeavor. In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of cultivating sweet corn in drained soil, discuss the importance of cross-pollination, and refer to the corn seeds available at GrowOrganic.com to help you get started on your organic corn-growing journey.

Choosing the Right Corn Seeds

Selecting the right corn seeds is the first step in growing organic corn successfully. At GrowOrganic.com, you can find a wide variety of organic sweet corn seeds that are free from synthetic pesticides and genetically modified organisms (GMOs). Look for options that are suited to your specific climate and growing conditions, such as early-season varieties for shorter growing seasons or heat-tolerant varieties for warmer regions.

Preparing the Soil

Drained soil is essential for the healthy growth of corn. Corn plants thrive in well-drained, loamy soil that is rich in organic matter. Here are the steps to prepare your soil:

  1. Choose a sunny location: Select a spot in your garden that receives at least 6-8 hours of direct sunlight daily.
  2. Test the soil: Conduct a soil test to determine its pH and nutrient levels. Sweet corn prefers a slightly acidic soil with a pH between 6.0 and 6.8.
  3. Improve soil structure: Amend your soil with organic matter, such as compost or well-rotted manure, to enhance its fertility and water retention capabilities.
  4. Ensure proper drainage: Ensure that the soil has good drainage by incorporating organic matter and avoiding areas prone to waterlogging.

Planting Corn Seeds

Now that you have your organic corn seeds and well-prepared soil, it's time to plant. Follow these steps for successful planting:

  1. Timing: Wait until the soil has warmed up to at least 50°F (10°C) before planting corn seeds. This typically occurs in late spring or early summer.
  2. Spacing: Plant corn seeds in rows that are spaced 30-36 inches apart, with each seed placed 9-12 inches apart within the rows.
  3. Depth: Plant the seeds approximately 1-2 inches deep in the soil. Ensure they are adequately covered with soil.
  4. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist but not waterlogged throughout the growing season. Corn is particularly thirsty during the pollination period.

Cross-Pollination and Corn Varieties

Cross-pollination is a crucial aspect of growing corn, as it ensures the formation of well-filled ears and promotes genetic diversity among your corn plants. Sweet corn varieties are categorized into three main types: standard (su), sugary enhanced (se), and super sweet (sh2). Understanding these categories and their pollination requirements is essential for successful sweet corn cultivation.

  1. Standard (su) varieties: These are the traditional sweet corn varieties that readily cross-pollinate with other standard varieties. Plant them in blocks or groups to encourage cross-pollination, which results in fuller and more uniformly sweet kernels.
  2. Sugary enhanced (se) varieties: Sugary enhanced corn has a higher sugar content and a longer harvest window. While they can still cross-pollinate with standard varieties, they are less likely to do so. Isolating them from other corn types can help maintain their desirable characteristics.
  3. Super sweet (sh2) varieties: Super sweet corn contains extremely high sugar levels and has a different genetic makeup, making it less compatible with standard and sugary enhanced varieties. To prevent cross-pollination, plant super sweet corn at a distance from other corn types or use physical barriers like tassel bags.

Tending to Your Corn Plants

Growing organic corn requires ongoing care to ensure a bountiful harvest. Here are some important care practices:

  1. Mulching: Apply mulch around the base of your corn plants to help retain moisture, control weeds, and maintain consistent soil temperature.
  2. Fertilization: Use organic fertilizers to provide essential nutrients to your corn plants. Side-dress with compost or a balanced organic fertilizer when the plants are knee-high and again when they start to tassel.
  3. Watering: Keep the soil consistently moist, especially during the critical pollination period. Water at the base of the plants to prevent splashing onto the leaves, which can lead to disease.
  4. Pest and disease management: Monitor your corn plants regularly for signs of pests or diseases. Use organic methods, such as neem oil or insecticidal soap, to manage any issues.
  5. Support: As your corn plants grow, they may need support to prevent them from toppling over in strong winds. Staking or using support cages can help keep your plants upright.

Harvesting Organic Corn

Harvesting corn at the right time is essential to enjoy the best flavor and texture. Here's how to know when your corn is ready for picking:

  1. Appearance: Look for ears that are well-filled, plump, and have fully developed kernels. The silk on the ears should be brown and dry.
  2. Texture: Gently press your thumbnail into a kernel. If the juice is milky and the kernel is tender, it's time to harvest.
  3. Timing: Corn is typically ready for harvest 18-24 days after the appearance of the first silk strands.


To harvest, simply grasp the ear firmly and twist it downward to detach it from the stalk. Enjoy your organic corn as soon as possible for the freshest taste.

Growing organic corn from seed is a fulfilling endeavor that allows you to savor the delicious taste of homegrown produce. With the right seeds, well-prepared soil, proper care, and an understanding of cross-pollination, you can enjoy a bountiful harvest of sweet, tender corn on your dinner table. Explore the wide selection of organic corn seeds available at GrowOrganic.com and embark on your journey to cultivating this summer favorite in your own garden. Happy growing!

Need some help on how to grow corn?

We have a Growing Guide that is packed full of helpful information along with a video on growing corn. Want to try something different? Watch our video on how to grow corn using the Three Sisters method.

All of our Peaceful Valley brand vegetable seed packs are CCOF & USDA Certified Organic, in addition to being Non-GMO and Open-Pollinated (with the exception of hybrid seeds).

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