How to Grow Sweetcorn

I started sowing sweetcorn about a week ago using 4 inch pots inside the greenhouse, the seedlings are germinating well in this tropical heat that we are experiencing at the moment. All you need to keep sweetcorn happy until planted outside (wait until the last frosts are over) is a sunny windowsill, they love the heat but need plenty of space so I only sow one seed per pot. A top tip, don’t sow the seed too deep and avoid overwatering to prevent seed from rotting. Sweetcorn is one of my favourite vegetables to grow, not only because it tastes so much better than anything you can buy in the shops but it also adds a touch of beauty to the veg garden, rustling in the breeze, adding height and interest.

Sweetcorn is wind-pollinated so it’s best planted out in blocks rather than single rows. I usually plant a few blocks using 15 or 18 plants in short rows of 3, this way the plants are closer together which helps to ensure successful pollination of the silks. With this in mind I have sown quite a few seeds to allow for failures. It’s possible to grow a few plants in a large pot successfully but expect a low yield. Despite this, even if you only manage to pick one or two cobs, it’s totally worth the effort for the fresh and sweet taste.

However you decide to grow sweetcorn, cook the cobs as soon as they’re picked for the best flavour.

7 thoughts on “How to Grow Sweetcorn

  1. I like growing sweetcorn and sow mine direct at the end of May, 16 seeds in a block as that’s all the space I have for them and ,thankfully, that’s all I really need.
    I leave the stems all winter for the wildlife then pull them up, crush them and put them in the bottom of the emptied compost bin.
    Removing a cob or two to take home to cook and eat in less than half an hour is so good!
    What variety are you growing? I’ve gone back to Golden Bantam which I grew the year before last. xx


  2. Interesting that you’re both growing different types of sweetcorn – I wonder how great the difference is in taste? Have you tried other varieties to arrive at this choice? I’m with Flighty on the bird theme as I seem to have grabbed Sparrow and Lark into my seed stash. Surely Golden Bantam would be an appropriate one for you and your chickens, Karen? ; ) Caro xx


  3. YUM, I haven’t had room until this year to grow sweet corn (not in the ground yet -too cold). I’ll have to make sure to fence in well as the deer and raccoons LOVE it. Can’t wait for some homegrown goodness – it’s really the best way to eat sweet corn – right of the stalk!

    This year I’m growing some ‘Amish Butter’ popcorn along with some ‘Bon Jour’ bicolor sweet corn.


  4. Our sweetcoen won’t get sown until May even though we could grow them in the Polytunnel, I want them outside. I love sweetcorn, and I love the way you have to harvest at just the right time – eat me now or regret it! ;)


  5. Aha! Thanks Karen, you’ve reminded me I need to sow my sweetcorn too.

    I was incredibly neglectful last year and grew fantastic plants and then got side tracked, forgot to harvest, and ended up throwing sweetcorn husks away where every critter on the allotment had found a good meal. Better this year – I hope!


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