With the rise of container gardening, many gardeners are interested in how to grow corn in a container. Container gardening brings the opportunity to grow delicious produce, including fresh corn cob, in small or no garden space. Growing corn in containers may be done indoors, provided you have a sunny spot for the container to sit.
Sweet corn is a perennial crop, producing ears with yellow, white, or two-colored kernels. Corn or maize is one of three staple crops (with beans and squash), and it has been grown for thousands of years in many parts of the world. Despite being primarily produced on an industrial scale, certain kinds of maize are well suited for cultivation in home gardens.
Sweet corn flourishes in many gardens during the corn growing season because it is a warm-season crop and takes well to growing in containers. Sweet corn is softer in texture with a sweeter flavor than field corn, which has a starchier taste and a somewhat stiffer corn cob. Growing sweet corn is comparable to growing regular corn as it is an easy process.
- Your Complete Guide to Growing Sweet Corn in Containers
Your Complete Guide to Growing Sweet Corn in Containers
This article answers your questions about how to grow corn in a container and the process of growing sweet corn in containers. Sweet corn is a tasty and healthy treat that goes well in salads, corn on the cob and adds a color pop to other meals.
Learn about growing corn in containers and include it in your home container garden for fresh produce and a fun, productive hobby.
Growing sweet corn is comparable to growing regular corn as it is an easy process. Whether you enjoy strawberry popcorn, fresh corn on the cob, or tender baby corn, plant corn and try growing sweet corn in containers to access delicious homegrown produce.
Different Varieties of Corn to Grow in Containers
Early varieties, mid-season types, and late-season varieties of corn are available. Corn planted early in the season matures the quickest, whereas corn planted later may take the entire growing season to develop.
Combining early corn sowing with later corn extends the harvest time for corn plants, ensuring a steady supply of fresh corn or whatever sweet corn type is in season for longer. The best time to plant corn seeds really depends on your growing zone and the climate. Aside from seasons, corn also has different types.
When planting corn from seeds, choose the variety of popcorn for your container based on your preferences. Because sweet corn cross-pollinates quickly, choosing one type rather than different varieties for container planting is recommended to avoid pollen mixing.
Choosing a Vessel for Growing Corn in a Container
When growing corn in a pot, you need a container with a diameter and depth of at least 12 inches. Grow no more than four corn plants in each container to avoid crowding.
Get creative when choosing a container. Provided the vessel is sturdy and has adequate drainage via holes, anything else is acceptable. Trash cans, old beer barrels, ceramic or decorative pots work well. Choose a container to suit your style and needs for growing sweet corn in containers.
Planting Corn in Containers
To hasten germination, wrap the corn seed in damp paper towels and place it in a plastic bag for 24 hours. Plant the seeds in rows in your container, working about two inches deep and 4-6 inches apart. Each row should be 36 inches apart.
Fertilize your corn with a nitrogen fertilizer at planting time, such as manure tea; this is essential because corn grows quickly and requires additional nourishment.
Mix the materials and pour them into the soil before planting. Skip this step if you’re confident in the soil’s ability to support the plant. Give your sweet corn seed plenty of water once you plant it.
How to Grow Corn in a Container – Care
After planting container corn seed, the next step in producing corn is to care for your crop. One of the essential aspects, whether growing short season corn varieties or others, is maintaining the young corn plants until you have an entire crop. Thin out the tiny corn plants when they reach three to four inches, keeping them 8-12 inches apart.
To prevent injuring the roots of each corn plant, carefully weed around it. Corn has weak roots and is susceptible to drought stress; ensure it gets plenty of water by keeping the soil moist.
Until the corn stalk reaches about eight inches, side-dress it with a high-nitrogen fertilizer such as manure tea and repeat the process when it reaches about 18 inches.
If your container is outside, corn stalks may need support to protect them from shattering during strong winds; pile mounds of soil around the bases of the plants to offer support and keep the stalks straight throughout severe storms.
Alternatively, move your corn containers inside in high winds. Don’t be concerned about wind and weather affecting your corn plants if you’re growing corn indoors.
Corn Pests to Avoid When Container Gardening
Avoiding corn pests is a challenge of growing corn in containers.
Common Corn Pests
- Corn Earworm
- European Corn Borer
- Corn Smut
The European Corn Borer is a frequent pest in Europe. The larvae consume corn leaves and burrow into ears and corn stalks, and become adults are that tiny brown nocturnal moths.
Utilize pheromone lures in conjunction with traps to attract males and inhibit mating. Remove the corn stalks and mow very close to the ground after the corn growing season to eliminate overwintering habitats. Composting infected or sick plant matter is not recommended.
Corn Earworms are a pest of sweet corn and other crops. Stripes run longitudinally on the body, with the bottom being lighter. Plants are consumed by the larvae, albeit the more nutritious corn ears are favored.
Corn Earworm management necessitates complete spraying of the ear zone, exposing the larvae to a deadly dosage of pyrethroid insecticides when the eggs hatch.
When maize is almost ready to harvest in the summer, the kernels can deform into clumps marbled with black or gray. Pick contaminated ears and put them in the trash as soon as you discover indications of Corn Smut.
Rotate sweet corn crops every three years because the Corn Smut fungus develops over time. A corn variety with a thicker husk may prevent spores from entering ears, and the early sweet corn variety has fewer smut concerns than later-ripening ones.
Harvesting after Growing Corn in Containers
From seed to harvest, corn requires 90 to 120 days to mature. The soil moisture, soil temperature, temperature, and care all influence the time it takes to grow sweet corn in your container corn patch.
Corn matures more rapidly when the temperature rises. It typically ripens 15-23 days after developing corn silk, but it may ripen sooner if temperatures are unusually high.
The tassels turn dark when the corn is ready, and the kernels are milky. Pull a strip of husk away from the kernel and pierce it with your fingernail to see whether it’s good. It’s ready if it’s white or milky.
Sweet corn is only at peak ripeness for one or two days in temperatures above 85°F, so keep an eye on it. Sweeter corn is harvested a few days after reaching the milk stage. Harvest each corn stalk based on how ready each ear is to get the best out of your corn plant and delicious fresh corn.
Learning how to grow corn in a container allows gardeners to start growing corn, enjoy a fun and productive project, and reward them with tasty veggies. Growing sweet corn in containers is perfect for gardeners with a short growing season, no garden, or unpredictable weather.
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