Planting Sweet Corn | Mukwonago Produce Farm

This spring we have had an unseasonable number or warm days! Most years we start to plant sweet corn during the last week of April but this year we started at the beginning of April. This is a risk because if we get a frost after the corn grows above the ground it will all die! I can’t remember a year when local sweet corn has been ready to pick before the 4th of July but this year might be the year!!

The first corn we planted has a 74-day maturity period should give us sweet corn in mid-June. However, I’m not confident this will be the case! The 74-day maturity period is an estimation that depends on growing conditions. In order for the seed to germinate the soil needs to be at least 55 degrees and optimal air temperatures should be between 60-95 degrees.

We plant a few different varieties of corn whose estimated maturity time ranges from 74-84 days. This year we are planting all bi-color sweet corn based off your feedback on taste and sweetness. If you are planting your own sweet corn in your garden there are a few things you need to keep in mind. Different varieties of sweet corn need to be isolated from each other to avoid cross pollination.  This can be done in a couple of ways; one is to plant the different varieties at least 14 days apart because then they will not be tasseling (pollination occurs when the corn is tasseling) at the same time which is when the pollination occurs. Another option is to plant the sweet corn in different physical locations.

We plant sweet corn with a small 4 row planter. The rows are 30” apart and a seed is planted every 9inches. I usually plant the seeds between 1-2” deep. We plant a few rows every 5-7days to avoid all of the sweet corn being ready to pick at the same time. The biggest challenge of planting this often is trying to guess when the next rain fall will come – we can’t plant when the field is too wet – so we can have a consistent harvest of corn throughout the season!

The pictures below is of 74-day maturity sweet corn which was planted about 30 days ago!

A tine sweet corn produce plant a few inches high in Wisconsin

A sweet corn field just starting to grow in Waukesha County Wisconsin

Sweet Corn seed starting to grow on a farm in Mukwonago Wisconsin

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